On 21 April 2003, jarche.com went online. It started as a single web page, later upgraded to a Drupal powered site and then changed over to its current WordPress configuration. About 2,350 posts have been published so far, with over 6,500 comments [+1 million comment spam have been blocked]. Many thanks to Chris at tantramar.ca for keeping this site running for so long.
So what has changed and what have I learned over the past decade?
It is easier and more acceptable to work from home, live in a different time zone, and work with people you may have never met face to face. When I started, the mainstream media were making fun of blogs. Now every media outlet has one, if not many. This blog has helped me connect with people all over the world. Without it, I doubt I would have lasted 10 years as a freelancer.
My early Blogger site is still online. I moved my blogging here in February 2004. In 2003 social media were primarily blogs. While blogs now face a lot of competition, I have noticed that the influence of a single blog post can be much greater today, as it gets re-posted on various other platforms. I would still strongly recommend blogging, especially for freelancers. What I’ve learned about blogging is that you have to do it for yourself. Most of my posts are just thoughts that I want to capture.
One advantage (?) of living in a remote and rural part of the country is that I need to have a wide focus. There are not enough potential clients around here, so there is no local market. Because of this, I saw the world as my market from the onset, and the past 10 years have shown that it’s possible (though sometimes difficult) to do international work and not live in a major metropolitan area. Sackville boasts a population of around 5,000 people and the nearest major cities are Boston (900 KM) and Montréal (1,000 KM).
One of my guiding principles is accepting life in perpetual Beta, meaning that things keep changing and I have to keep learning. In 2003 Twitter did not exist and WordPress was only released in May of that year. Twitter is now the main source of referrals to this blog, surpassing Google, while WordPress is the number one blogging platform in the world. This month I tried two new RSS readers, as the social media landscape keeps changing.
Probably the most significant change in my work came with the formation of the Internet Time Alliance, in 2009, with my partners Jay Cross, Jane Hart, Charles Jennings, and Clark Quinn. Not only has this international think-tank exposed me to new networks, but it’s a wonderful support group, where I can bounce around my half-baked ideas.
Thanks to everyone who has connected here over the past 10 years and especially those who have shared their knowledge and experiences. I look forward to the next decade.