Blogging One Year Today

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It’s exactly one year to the day that I launched this blog. So I though I’d do a quick review of why I started it, what I’ve learned in the process and where I plan on going to next.

I Started Because…

I started blogging for a few different reasons. One was because I felt there was a web community in Ireland that was quickly gaining a voice and I wanted to be part of it. Another was that up until last year I was still working from home and I felt a little isolated in my daily routine. I needed a way to meet other designers and developers. A virtual water cooler. Another was that I believed I had value to add from my experiences so far and that a blog would be a perfect platform to voice these opinions.

But what finally got me out the traps was a very quick chat I had with Niall Larkin in the Digital Depot. He probably doesn’t even remember it, but it resonated with me enormously. The web is about connections, and it’s about having an online brand and an online reputation. Writing a blog is by far the best way to make all of that happen. So I got busy designing a custom theme and launched a week or so afterwards.

The Benefits

The benefits of starting the blog were immediately apparent. I met some old friends that I didn’t know were in the web space, and I made some new ones that I admired and respected. I started to feel immediately connected with what was going on in the web community both in Ireland, and the World. But launching the blog was just half the trick. It’s just as important (if not more important) to read and comment on other blogs written by people in your niche. This is where the real value comes in, the community engagement. It’s not an essay, it’s a conversation.

Twitter Power

Using Twitter has increased the sense of community online by ten fold. It’s really only just starting to take off, but the web community have been using it for years. And although I felt I was a little late to the party (when I joined last year), the Irish web folk on Twitter have been incredibly friendly and supportive. I can’t recommend Twitter highly enough as a means to engage with other people in your industry, your niche or your interests. There’s a community there for everyone.

I liked Twitter so much that I started playing with the Twitter API. At first I added an aggregation script to the homepage, a project I started last year. Then later on I launched Twitter Perch, a tool for following people who talk about things that interest you. And then just earlier today I launched Twission, a Twitter Search extension that adds tag information on the degrees of separation between you and the tweets in the search results. There’s a more comprehensive post about Twission over on the Webstrong Blog.

Meeting in the Flesh

Having met everyone online, I was looking at ways to meet my new contacts in the real world. Thankfully there’s an abundance of events in Ireland where you can meet the people in the web community. There’s everything from Firefox Parties, to Connector Events, to Bizcamp, Bizspark, the Irish Web and Blog Awards, Twestival, and of course the recent FOWA conference.

Meeting these guys in the flesh really brought home the sense that there’s something powerful happening in the web community in Ireland at the moment. We’re getting together, we’re gaining a voice and we’re doing some really interesting things on the web.

The Year Ahead

The last year in the blogosphere has been truly ground breaking for me. It’s changed how I work, it’s changed what I know, it’s forced me out of my comfort zone. I’ve made new friends, had great work opportunities, and it’s given me a voice that I didn’t have before. But it isn’t going to stop here. The year ahead is going to be even more exciting. I’ve just launched the Webstrong Blog and have great plans for the business. I plan on making even more connections, releasing more apps, going to more events, and having a whole lot of fun in the process.

Here’s to another year of Code agus Craic.


2 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Simon Lewis says:

    Hi Iarfhlaith,

    You were brought to my attention by Deirdre Donohue from Educate Together and she mentioned you were a Twitter-expert. I’ve offered to redo the current ET web site this summer and one thing that I think would work really well is a tweet to appear on the site every time a Twitter-er mentions the phrase Educate Together. Every school will also be given a Twitter Account and I’d like their tweets to be updated on the site too. Any ideas?


    Mar 28, 2009
  2. Iarfhlaith says:

    Hey Simon,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve emailed you with some details.

    Haven’t been called a Twitter Expert before though. *chuffed*.

    Mar 30, 2009

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