My First Year as a Technology Blogger

Last week was my blogger birthday, on Friday I was one year old. Once I had decided to start writing I had to look for a place to publish. As always I started with Google.

I wanted to write about innovation and technology but from the particular point of view of ethics and responsibility, so I chose my list of search terms. Technology had to be in there, as did blog or blogger, maybe science too, so in they all went.

Several blogs came out, Technology Blogs being the first, followed by Technology Bloggers, a relatively new website in those days. I had a look at the content and the rules of engagement and decided that I should try with them.

And here was my first lesson. I found this blog because of its name. I had never even been on a blog let alone post a comment, so Tech Crunch, Technocrati and the others were not in my vocabulary, nor my search terms. If you want people to find your blog you should choose the name well.

Author Jonny Hankins

Here I am (without make-up)

As I said I was new to the business, I had never used WordPress and never posted anything. Although I had published on the net I had never done it myself, the Foundation that employs me has a Webmaster so I was never allowed to touch the controls myself.

This factor was not a problem in my first posts. I managed to get the body of the text uploaded and Christopher from Admin did the rest. After a couple of months the very same Christopher asked me if I would like to apply for author status. What this means to the uninitiated is you get your hands on the controls.

It took several attempts I might add to get a grasp of them. One problem is the language, norms and technicalities. Tags, links in the piece, correctly titled and opening in new windows, pictures with the right links, excerpts and categories to decide and formulate.

Fortunately Christopher is a patient and gallant man, so one error at a time and over a period of a couple of months I made less and less mistakes, and now I can do it myself.

I really enjoyed my first posts, I started with the problems created by improvements in prosthetic limb technology, they might actually be better than the natural version.

A rather ironic post followed about US immigration and then I got down to some serious and regular writing.

4 months after my first post Christopher suggested the possibility of writing a series, so I opted for a 6 week long series about the health of the planet. At this point I began to triangulate my blog writing with my work and include links to several articles that were posted on my work site. I also produced an Issuu booklet using both my work and the Technology Bloggers logos.

I have continued to link my different communication forms together as it seems advantageous to all concerned. My work website benefits from readers that follow the links here and likewise in reverse. I have also written a few articles for an innovation blog called Innovation Excellence, and although the topics are different they are related enough to allow links to the other portals, and again all benefit.

The series took a lot of work, but once it was finished I did not want to fall out of the weekly routine so I continued to write every week. My posts have in general got shorter, partly through necessity but also through choice. I can cover a lot of different subject matter and ask questions in a few hundred words that I would have wound into much more complex pieces a few months ago.

Comments are the thing that make blogging so interesting a pastime. I always try to reply to as many as possible. Sometimes though I write something that receives very few comments and this disappoints me. They are often posts that refer to complex debates however and not easy to comment on, given the format of the comment system.

This is my 39th article for technology Bloggers, a fair body of work if put together and an enjoyable project. If anyone reading this is thinking or has ever thought about writing I would personally urge you on. It is very satisfying when someone takes the time to read your production and comment upon it.

Roll on another year and thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment, and to Christopher for the patience, encouragement and expertise.

7 thoughts on “My First Year as a Technology Blogger

  1. Christopher (admin team)

    Hello Jonny, I am sure you knew that I wouldn’t be able to resist commenting this week!

    Lets start from the top shall we? 🙂

    Well, 1 year as a blogger, I never thought it had been that long, and was really surprised to find out that it had been. It also shocks me that it has been nearly 16 months since the whole blog started! I suppose as this is your 39th post, and you have been posting weekly for a good few months now, it kind of makes sense.

    Interesting to see how you found us, way back when… I have been criticised in the Google Webmaster Forums by someone for picking keywords for a name, which is what you can do, but in the long-term, branding is better. Personally I set up the name ‘Technology Bloggers’ as a brand, which I guess sort of accidently included the words Technology Blog – which are one of our keywords. I am a firm believer in being in things for the long-term, therefore branding is a must.

    I feel it is really important that the blog facilitates the possibility for bloggers to progress in the system, and as you put it “get your hands on the controls”. It is a community blog, so if you are honest, hardworking, and willing to participate, you should be able to influence the blog, and post your own stuff, without prior approval. This does of course require a lot of trust between me and the author, trust which I am very glad I invested in you Jonny. When you asked me about that post that was a little controversial and wasn’t quite suitable for our blogging niche(s), that reassured me that I could trust you. Whilst the blog is everyone’s, it does feel sort of like it is mine, in a way. I hope that everyone has that feeling about it, including and especially you. That sense of ownership makes you want to look after our/your creation: Technology Bloggers.

    Your series was fantastic Jonny, I really enjoyed it, and it added a lot of value and credibility to the blog. I am still working on a page for writers about writing a series. It will get done soon. For your interest, I am currently working with British Gas who have offered to installed Remote Heating Control technology for me to test out as a blogger, and then share my experiences of over a series of posts. British Gas are installing the technology for free, and have said they will be promoting the reviews I write, so that people know what real people think about the technology, not just was the energy companies view is. Good for them and hopefully for our blog too – it should get us a lot of exposure, at least that is what I hope! I have been meaning to email you about this, but keep forgetting, I hope you don’t mind :-/

    I love comments too Jonny, blogging wouldn’t be blogging without comments. I love the way it is a cross between a website and a forum, not just comments and opinions, but at the same time, not just static content.

    Under-exposure annoys me too, however it happened sometimes, and you just have the accept it. In a way it is good, as it means you can’t always expect a reply, and when you get one, it is even more valuable.

    Referring to past posts in articles and other works across the web does help to give older, maybe less appreciated posts, the exposure they deserve, just a little later than you may like.

    Hopefully our competition will have boosted our readership – our social subscribers have increased and are now totalling around the 500 mark 🙂

    I do have a confession to make, I did edit your article ever so slightly. Word Press is one word, so that had to be changed, and a blank space ’ ‘ before a link was hyperlinked, so I just tweaked that to unlink it. As you are getting more and more experienced, I feel less inclined to edit, as I feel I am changing your style. Then again, as another blogger I have know for a while recently said to me, edit others work not to change the style, but to improve the content: ”As I tell my clients, when I edit their books, I want the final result to sound exactly like them … only better”Lillie Ammann.

    Apologies that this comment is longer than your article itself, but it was a momentous post, so I felt it deserved a (big) comment – not that I planned it to be this long!

    To another year (and more) of blogging! Thank you and well done Jonny.

    • Thanks for the comment and the touching up, all help and advice accepted and acted upon. I am returning to the US in 10 days so might miss a week, just to let you know. The British Gas tie in sounds interesting too, I look forward to spreading the word.

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