Five years later..

I’ve had the good fortune to give a number of talks about social media lately. Being a beta geek since the days when I got my Internet through a dial-up SLIP connection at Pipeline (coupled with my current gig at Comcast) seems to attract attention. A common question is “When did you start blogging?” For me, it all began on January 31, 2004. Here’s a look at that very first post.

When I was a kid, my parents kept in touch with their closest friends with something called “The Round Robin”. It was a letter at traveled from mailbox to mailbox, each family adding their own update to it. Whenever we got it, it was usually filled with pictures both literal and handwritten, updating us on what was going on in the lives of our favorite people.

Like most kids, I wrote letters home from camp and not nearly often enough when I got to college. Somehow the process of writing stuff down (my penmanship was terrible), finding an envelope, remembering addresses and buying stamps piled up as rationalization for procrastination.

Email made the process exponentially easier. God gives us strengths to offset our weaknesses and one mine was a lightning fast felicity with the keyboard. Pounding out paragraphs was a breeze and if I wrote it just right, I could send it to multiple people at the same time.

That got the message out to specific receivers, but being a broadcaster at heart, I was particularly drawn to the weblog concept. How cool to be able to pontificate and have your words read by strangers as well as friends. It made me think a bit more carefully about what I might say. The Internet is forever and anybody who uses a search engine can judge you, particularly prospective employers. And there are downsides to surrendering a slice of your anonymity. Every position can drive an opposite reaction, as I often see in the vitriolic comments that are automatically posted to blogs without the sensitivities of the letters editor at your hometown newspaper.

But what the heck, let’s do it. Who knows where all this might take us, but it will definitely be educational and perhaps even fun!

Scott Westerman
January 31, 2004