I first reviewed No One Cares What You Had For Lunch on October 19, 2007, less than six months after starting the blog which has become Libdrone Book Reviews. I’ve actually learned a great deal more about blogging than I knew back then, not long after I published Blogging About Books About Blogging. I know, for instance that a personal blog is actually a much better niche choice than a book review blog if you set a goal of publishing a new post every single calendar day. When I started blogging I worked for a large county public library system and was all but literally swimming in some of the greatest new books. Even with my early concession of deciding that I would “feature” rather than review books I found that it took an enormous amount of time and effort to publish a coherent three paragraph post every day about one or more great new books. It was well less than year into my first blog that I cut back first to three posts per week and then two posts per week— and even with those lower frequencies I took hiatuses from it at times. Sometimes planned, sometimes not.
Even though I wasn’t blogging every day, I did spend time every day hanging out with other bloggers on sites like Blog Catalog and Entrecard. Both of which are still there. Though neither of them now attract the communities of smart, interesting people who made those sites such incredible destinations in their hey days. Over the years I’ve been a part of so many communities. First way back when on Compu$erve and then later on MUDS in the early days of the public (text based) Internet, and then on various websites since. I’ve learned that businesses come and go. And the communities which they allow users to form are ultimately very fragile. Web sites and online communities will inevitably come and go. But many times the relationships linger. I still visit Ron and Bev‘s blogs from time to time, just to see what’s news with them. Though the Compu$erve forum where we first met has been through just as many changes over the years as we ourselves have and aren’t really a place to hang out anymore. I still talk to friends (mostly on Facebook these days) like JD and Tiffany whom I first met on Blog Catalog, although that web site too is still around but is simply no longer the hot spot of smart, creative people who were going to publish blogs and make a lot of money from doing it. (HA, HA, HA)
Yet I know no finer men than Dane Morgan (who taught me more about marketing and about respectful disagreement among real friends than anyone else I’ve ever known) or Rich Becker, one of the most outgoing and friendly people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet who brings the public relations skill set to the world of social networking with a level of intelligent and open discourse that very very few will ever match. The folks I have linked to in this post are only a small handful of the people whom I have met and gotten to know in the twenty years that I have been online. I argue that the real value of all that networking is the real human relationships I continue to maintain, with people I have come to genuinely care about, in some cases even though we have never actually met face to face. Someday Facebook and Twitter and any other communications tools you now use today will come to seem as quaint as a 300 baud chat room does, for those of us old enough to remember such things.
I’ve challenged my friend Michael to visit a number of my old haunts. Not because I in any way think that Michael or any of my other new friends actually need to visit old sites where I once met people who have proved to be incredible friends and friends who have in different ways helped me to become the professional that I am today. I am not actually against continually trying new tools, new social networks and trying to find the golden nuggets in the chaffs of wheat. But unless finding those golden nuggets (rather than writing a book or publishing a book or creating a successful business for examples) is your primary goal, no human being can possibly have the time to be on every social web site. And any business that hopes to do other things (like turning a profit, perhaps) certainly can not afford to be.