A Decade Of Blogging

I’ve always been fascinated by blogging, certainly since it really broke into the consciousness of the general public around a decade ago. Regardless of the quality of the content, the ability to actively share content directly with an audience, no matter how niche it might be, immediately hit me as being incredibly powerful.

No gatekeepers.

I’ve learned a huge amount over the last decade or so from simply reading blogs. I remember once asking work colleagues how many blogs they read regularly. Or even irregularly. The answer, it transpired, was that there wasn’t a single person who was. That still amazes me. Needless to say, I also understood that I was in the wrong job.

Of course the landscape has shifted hugely over the last decade. Some bloggers, real and anonymous, have moved on of course but many stalwarts remain (for example, Fred Wilson started blogging back in September 2003). Larger numbers of people are now producing content which, thanks to technology that’s freely available, has at least the potential of reaching a global audience. And of course the emergence of micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter really helped to tap into that pent-up desire that so many had to share something (with 288 million active monthly users generating 500 million Tweets per day currently).

However, a huge factor in the growth of blogging was the emergence of WordPress. Whilst investigating why Wordpress have withdrawn support for Bitcoin payments this week, I came across this article from October 2004 talking about the early days when Matt Mullenwegg developed WordPress, the juggernaut that is currently the most popular blogging system in use on the web, powering more than 60 million websites.

The philosophy’s really interesting here and really validates the open source model. Almost everything on WordPress.com is free. They charge for upgrades (whether it’s spam filters or custom domains) but the core proposition is – and always will be – free. If you’re worried about giving something away for free, I suggest you go and have a chat with Matt. I’m sure giving stuff away has done him much harm over the last decade or so.

Going back to the article, there seem to be some parallels between WordPress in 2004 and the state of Bitcoin in 2015. You can sense a seismic change coming. It’s impossible to say when or where the ultimate winners will be so far.  But it’s certain that there will be winners. As Scott Maxwell mentioned in the Q&A after the Bitcoin talk we gave up to Dundee Tech Meetup yesterday, there’s probably 5 or 6 places lying vacant at the moment just waiting for people to carve themselves a place in the history books. With every day, we get a little closer to the time when we find out who it’s going to be.