ten years

ten of spadesOn 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.

22 Responses to “ten years”

  1. Brent MacKinnon

    Congratulations on a decade of perpetual beta sharing and learning. I look forward to many more years of following your efforts to make sense of stuff on the outer edges.

  2. Luis Suarez

    Hi Harold! Goodness! 10 years already?!?! I guess time flies when you are having fun, eh? This year, funny enough, I, too, will be celebrating my 10th year blogging anniversary with my internal blog that I launched in December 2003. The external one will be making 8 years in October and I can certainly agree with you that it’s probably one of the best decisions I have made in a long time, i.e. having your own voice, your own thoughts available to everyone out there on the Social Web. It’s a fascinating journey being able to host some really amazing conversations on the stuff you care and are passionate about, and that’s exactly one of the reasons why I like your blog so much. I may not have commented much over the course of the years in your posts, but they have certainly served plenty of the ideas for everyone out there to benefit from it, including my favourite one on living life in perpetual beta.

    Please do keep it up and thanks much for jotting down your thoughts and for sharing them across with all of us! It’s been quite a journey and here’s to another 10 years of blogging with lots of good fun and passionate writing! 😀

  3. Joachim Stroh

    Harold, congratulations on the first decade, what an achievement! You’ve changed so many minds, you’ve brought so much light to so many issues.. looking forward to how your future stories will be unfolding and untangling the new connected world.

  4. Julian Stodd

    Congratulations! It’s great to mark the milestones and a tenth anniversary is a big one. Your engaging and reflective writing style, insight and willingness to share ideas are a great inspiration. Thank you!

  5. Dave Ferguson

    What, Halifax is not a major city?

    I missed the first few years of your blog, but thanks to Jay Cross’s Web 2.0 unworkshop, I’ve been coming here for more than seven years.

    I’ve learned a lot in that time, not only from the content that you share, but from your openness, your generosity, and your good humor.

    And your example:

    “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.”

    • Harold

      Thanks, Ralph; you’re one of my few connections here from the days before blogs. Julian, thanks for the kind words. Martijn, I’m glad we had the chance to meet in person this year, which is a great benefit of blogging! Dave, you have too many Canadian genes, thinking that Halifax is a major city 😉

  6. KerrieAnne Christian

    Thanks for such a sustained effort – over the last 4 years I have found reading your shared thoughts always insightful

  7. Jim McGee

    Persistence is a vastly underrated and under-appreciated characteristic. Congratulations on the persistence and the body of work it has generated. Looking forward to the next 10 years.

  8. Jon Husband

    You are a master craftsman, Harold. 10 years at 1,000 + hours at it each year = well-deserved widespread recognition. Long may you continue crafting ..

  9. Gail Allan

    Congrats, Harold, and best wishes for the next decade. I continue to read your blog daily and gain much inspiration from your thoughts, musings, and heartfelt reflections on the state of learning in this world of ours. I am retiring in 2 weeks after 34 years of teaching at Algonquin College, the first 20 teaching Nursing and the last 14 supporting faculty across the college in their teaching journeys. I have your voice in my head about finding MY voice in future endeavors. Thanks again for all you do to help us folks stay resilient and hopeful that the Internet can make this world a better place.
    Gail Allan, Algonquin College

    • Harold

      Thank you very much for such kind words, Gail. I really enjoyed my visit to Algonquin last year and the great hospitality!


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