Happy birthday to this blog! 3 years of constant drizzle. I think i need a break. Here are some thoughts for those who are interested.
I started this blog with a short post on June 3, 2001. It has been good to me. It has given me a place to write into. I never expected the crowds that came, or to be voted #3 Blogspot site on Blogger Forum (have you heard me boast about beating Dave Barry before?).
One of the most rewarding aspects over these past 3 years, has been the response of the readers and commenters. You guys rock!. I have a great readership, and not everyone can say that. You have encouraged me, guided me, chastised me, sent me gifts, made me think, made me slow down, showed me when i was on track and when i was just talking to myself. In sign language, you complete me. When my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes last year, you were church to me. you were that intimate part of my family that shares in our disappointments as well as our successes.
as for this site, I gave a brief history of it on my 2nd birthday, as well as a photo history of the monthly headers.
This header was my all time favourite - April 2003 with a coffee urn that I shot at the youth room in Austin First Baptist Church
There have been a few inventions that have radically changed the face of my little blog.
1. The blogging engine.
The horse and cart days of blogging were in the late nineties, when you had to manually enter the date of your entry. This is what i did with Andrew's Tea Salon, in 1997. Blogger was a lifesaver for me, an easy way to do what i had already been doing. It made it quick and simple. It even archived all the posts. Dang. What an invention!
I was a latecomer to comments. I used to take comments given to me on my email and manually enter then in to the post. I was reluctant to start using comments, because i didnt want to change my site. The solution? I stopped the TallskinnyKiwi site on Blogger, left it as it was, and started a new one on Typepad.
The comments section of my blog and the blogs of others is generally the most exciting part. It is where people respond, where the initial post gets some life, some new voices, and it allows me to elaborate at the invitation of readers. You will notice that i have the comments section higher on the right column than the recent posts section. This is because when i go to a blog, i am looking for those few posts that have a lot of action in the comments section - thats where truth is becoming true, thats where issues are getting dealt with and thats where thoughts are getting chiseled out.
Lists became the easiest way for me to add elements and links to my blog. I used to enter them individually in the html section of the template. Lists can communicate with each other, and importing/exporting to other lists makes the whole thing much easier.
Our news readers (RSS/Atom) are becoming the way we read on the net. Our blogs feed into the net and the headlines are caught by people who don't have time to surf around. This is the future. It affects the way we write and read. XML allows our posts to get into people's phones. Thats cool!
5. Blog editors.
I use Ecto, and i used Kung Log before that - it allows me to write in color, add images, do whatever i want, all within my program, and offline. This has revolutionized my writing style and allows me to be more relaxed when i don't have a great connection.
I was fond of this header also. I used an oil painting that my mother made for me.
What about the future?
Well. Obviously, the future is bright and full of possibilities for us all. The internet has become the largest publishing event in the history of humankind, and writing into it on a daily basis is now something that millions of us are doing instead of just hundreds.
I am impressed with those Theoblogians who have resisted the urge to publish books and have instead poured out their energies writing up resources on the web for free, and for millions of people to find and read and download and comment on. This is all very exciting.
We are living in a Renaissance of Writing. Some of us may be writing more than we are reading. It is a post-post-literate world, a world in which the TV lost out to the computer and all the predictions of mindless zombies staring blankly into a screen have been deleted and replaced with the reality of a generation of empowered co-authors who speak back at the machine and are helping to change the system.
This one is my old Volvo, shot on a rainy day. It was a winter blog.
Having said that. I think that the way we blog, and the way I blog, has to change. With millions of us, and more information than any of us can handle, we should:
1. Blog better. We need to avoid the "I took 3 sugars in my coffee this morning" type blog-posts and publish posts that provide information that will actually help empower people to understand and grow. If our blogs have a good Google rating, then even a single misplaced word will invite people to come over and read. I mentioned Orlando Bloom once in my blog, but have had countless people come here from Google to read it what i said about Orlando. That makes me somewhat responsible to HAVE SOMETHING WORTHWHILE TO SAY about my topic. Blogging less, but better. Less ramble, more journalism. Otherwise i will waste people's time and that is not a good witness. The challenge is to be our own harsh editors. No one tells us our stuff is rubbish. We have to tell ourselves and blog better.
Blogging better also means optimizing images better. This goes for photos and files. I have been guilty of this recently. I used to be very disciplined. All my photos were between 5 and 12k. Now i sometimes grab and post images that are 30k. Naughty. But i have seen bloggers export images straight from - dang - who knows where - and they are HUGE. This is OK for people in the western world but in other places where broadband is scarce, we should be respectful. And remember, that our media is taken and reused by others. When you dont optimize an image, someone else repeats your sin when they post your image as it is. So buy a program and use it.
2. Blog less, and on less blogs. I have been telling people to start blogs for years. Now i need to rethink. Maybe we really dont need millions of theoblogians. If the quality of spiritually oriented blogging will decrease, then perhaps we should just appoint and encourage the writers of good blogs and meta-blogs, and encourage others to particapate in collaborative blogs where their drizzle will not drown out the worthy blog posts that are too valuable to be ignored or go unnoticed.
Each post takes up space and clutters up the noosphere. We should be more thoughtful, more RESTRAINED. Blog when we have to, when we have something to say. And we should say it shorter, knowing that it will take modular form on the internet.
Blog postings are not essays; they are blog postings.
3. Blog together. I am reluctant to start anything new by myself. Collaboration is where it is at. Group blogs, community blogs, blogs with enemies, blogs with friends, blogs with people who do not blog, writers blogging with photographers, westerners blogging with non-westerners.
I have some goals for my own blogging:
1. Blog beyond the date-based blog. One of the most annoying thing about blogs (apart from bloggers who only write about blogging) is that the really good stuff gets lost under the mountain of recent posts. This is the disadvantage of date-based literature. We need to go beyond its limits. I know that i do, anyway. I want to write into a story-based hypertext that does not discriminate against certain posts just because they are old. The people at folklore.org are developing a system like this, although they do refer to it as a blogging method. They will be releasing the source code soon and i would like to kick it around. Or maybe we could bend the present technology of blogging and reuse it for this.
Want to do it together???????
2. Provide better navigation. Our blogs have become mountains of information, unfathomable labyrinths, and the challenge is now to create trails that enable people to get to the stuff they need. One of the worst things about my blog is the lack of navigational tools. Sinful!
3. To assist others. I am more keen to help others have a voice than i am to keep my own blog going. I want to stop talking for a while. I plan to take another blog fast soon. But i also want to find people with stories to tell and teachings to pass on, and do what i can to help them.
4. To honor you. If you come here often, comment into my posts, and have a blog, then you should have a link. And if you have a permanent link to me, then it is downright rude of me to ignore you. so when i get a chance, i will put your link up here or at least in close proximity. Could you help me? - leave a comment below with your web site and then i can make a list. If you like, you can also abuse me for ignoring you in the past.
Right. Enough of my own drizzle.
Its a very happy blog birthday for me, and as i promised, i am giving some gifts. This part of my post will be deleted by tomorrow. Please don't comment on these invitations below, since i will be removing them soon.
1. I am offering 3 wild card invitations to the Epicentre Global Roundtable for Emerging Church, to be held in UK, August 27th. You will be in a room for 3 hours with some of the key emerging church leaders from over a dozen countries. Email me and ask. I will choose 3 of you. You will have free entry into the roundtable and will receive everything they receive. You will also have a voice at the event. You will still have to pay entry into Greenbelt Arts Festival, where the event is being held.
2. I am opening up A Kingdom Space blog for the next generation of bloggers that want to start having a voice on the internet. I am giving preference to those from African and Asian countries. Send me an email and tell me why you want to be a voice on this blog. In the past, A Kingdom Space has had 50 bloggers, including Hall of Fame Bloggers such as Jordon Cooper, Jonny Baker and Marc V. I will be asking the previous crowd to take a mentoring role with the new voices. Or in other words, we will assist you and resource you to have a voice on the AKS site, AND get your own blog up and going.
3. I am giving you an invitation to come over to my house for one of my pizza parties. We usually have these on a Friday night, and we project an action movie on a big screen. We make our own pizzas and its really cool. You will get to meet my family. So, if you plan on coming through London anytime this year, send me an email and lets see if we can get you over here.
4. Here are some secrets about me that may interest you.
- I sometimes appear in other blogs or events as "Slim Reaper"
- I will be appearing later this year as "Skip Flash".
Happy birthday TallSkinnyKiwi!