Rolling back blog history

What’s with the reminiscing stuff? First I get asked to reflect on my own ancient history – politics wise – and then there’s the urge to ensure that all my blogs are got in the same place, again. This latter task is proving tedious technically (anyone out there a Notes Designer who can do me a dump from my Domino Blog?); emotionally jarring (have to read every word and relive the memories), and altogether too time consuming/diverting when I should be writing about now.

Guardian Blog 2003

What the Guardian Weblog looked like in 2003 when it announced the Best British Blog winners

Basically I’ve been through lots of iterations: first off was a Blogger blog (it was this that got the much dined-out-on shortlisting in the inaugural Guardian Best British Blog competition in 2003). These blogs got transferred into several versions of the cutting-edge Lotus software based on Domino Blog, which I had a small part in helping to shape before it was consumed into IBM.

This software allowed me to do things that freebies like Blogger and WordPress couldn’t then do, and it was all hosted on the office servers, so it was effectively free.  And, IMHO, it looked great too.

Peter D Cox in 2003

Using Domino Blog in 2003 until about 2009, this was an early design

Of course, as a by now famous blogger (well, I knew how to do it technically, could string two words together, and got angry about things – the pre-requisites I suppose) it was clear I’d get to have other blogs too. The biggest, and to date the one which has atracted most online comments, often hundreds, was that for the HitItForSix campaign. In the campaign to save the historic Sophia Gardens (part of the Bute Parks) from the desecration of an international cricket arena it was clear, even in June 2005, that people needed a web place to go if they were to campaign effectively. Copies of plans, papers, proposals were often ‘available’ but effectively lost in obscure places and frequently ‘disappeared’ as quickly as they were published. Archiving and recording on H46 was a powerful tool for campaigners and journalists.

HitItFor6 web blog

The campaign blog for HitItForSix, campaigning against Glamorgan Cricket Club's massive cricket arena (and originally ice-rink and pavilion)

Hundreds of blogs later we ultimately lost the campaign  as local politicians rolled over at the lure of a Test Cricket Match in Cardiff. Footnote Tweet:Value of Ashes to Cardiff: prediction June 2009 £116M , report to #cdfcouncil says £3,577,000 Compute? 16 July 2010.

Food Blog

The food blog, a nice diversion while it lasted. I'd still like to write a food column: any offers?

Another flattery-got-the-better-of-common-sense-diversion was a food blog. From September 2007 until November that year I managed to write pretty consistently about food eaten, seen and cooked: from sauerkraut to Nigel rip-offs it was great fun while it lasted (and all the blogs are on this site, hence the pre-dominance still of food in the categories!).

Once I became ‘retired’ using the office servers was no longer an option so some consolidation was necessary. Blogger seemed v inflexible and not very designery, and WordPress seemed the choice of ‘serious’ bloggers, which I liked to think I was. So the, as yet unfinished, task of moving things over began.

And there we are. Well almost.

January 30th 2009 saw my first Tweet, though it took about six months to work out what it was all about. Now, 3442 tweets later, I think I’ve got it sussed, have been described as “Cardiff’s acid Tweeter” – a description repeated by the city’s leader at a recent meeting, and by the South Wales Echo (27 July 2010) as one of the five tweeps (people who do) to follow. Tweeting has filled a big hole in the blogsphere for me: giving almost instant reposts to news and events; highlighting and commenting in 140 characters on things that take my fancy; and following others of a like mind (and not) who do the same. It’s great.

And just in case you miss them. I archive them here, on the blog. A neat development. For now, until it all changes again.

So, in seven years blogging has changed a lot, technically and in the writing. The short-and-sharp gets Tweeted. Much comment gets cuckoo’ed out onto other people’s blogs where you fight for a voice amongst an often crowded space. And nice people ask you to write for them. All in all then, I’ve become a bit of a philandering blogger.

And a postscript: Much of what I have written and the illustrations would not have been possible without the amazing web archive feature on Let it be a lesson: very little on the web actually disappears.