I’m heading into San Francisco today to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and that has me thinking about pictures I’ve taken of it in my past, including my favorite — the one with my son Danny where I noticed that his red hair is, in fact, Golden Gate orange.
Only I couldn’t find the picture – and that was upsetting. Then I remembered — I had posted that Golden Gate bridge picture long ago, in the first blog I ever wrote:
So, I’ve been distracted this morning, smiling as I sifted old blog posts… and that prompted an epiphany.
Do you ever think about how you acquired skills you almost take for granted today?
93 words was a critical bridge to my current career as a Social Media Coach – and some of the proof is in the posts. But other evidence is off-page.
There were other early bridges, of course, including a website project I managed for the Lafayette Library and Learning Center fundraising campaign that pre-date the blog, but 93 Words was the first thing I did that really solidified that all important online confidence that these new online communication tools require.
How? Writing for fun came second nature. I’d been doing that for years. What the blog provided was the opportunity to figure out how to move that work online in a meaningful way, including handling the production side. With the blog I learned about templates and widgets, links and HTML, and how to create image files that didn’t take a long time to load. There were lessons in Google, measuring reach and building online community, too.
I started 93 Words in 2008 and it didn’t take long to become comfortable with that steep learning curve, which is good because the list of things to know keeps growing and it’s nice to build from a solid foundation.
Mostly, though, I learned to not be afraid of those new lessons. It was like I took a peek behind the curtain and realized it wasn’t that mysterious after all. People weren’t faxing to God to get things online, they were just clicking keys on their keyboard – and I could do that, too. I just needed to find tutorials, which are a lot more plentiful now than they used to be.
The key for me was that it was fun.
Previously, I’d been a self-taught freelance writer and local columnist for print media and I liked that I could learn to use the popular online tools of the day (at the time, Blogger), the old fashioned way — by playing.
I chose 93 words to force tight editing. Mostly, though, I didn’t want to define the blog by topic and feel limited about subject matter. Note: You can do that when you blog for fun and are more worried about what you’re doing and less about building readership. It’s different when you attach business goals to the blog!
Freed of the eagle eyes of an Editor, I gave myself license to use fragmented sentences when I wanted to and not count words that were actually on pictures.
If you sift the posts, you’ll also see that they leave clues of how I transitioned to a social media coach. I wrote a lot at first about random musings and then let the blog go quiet when life got busy.
I revived it during a class I took in 2009 as part of the Integrated Marketing program at San Francisco State. You can see the change in the posts — still 93 words, but now I’m talking about social media and marketing.
Here’s what I wrote on June 24, 2009, in a blog post titled, “Social Media 101: Choices”
“Figure out who needs to hear from you, where they hang out, and go there.”
TIP: If you’d like to try blogging for fun, start on WordPress — that way you’ll learn the platform you’ll likely use when you begin to blog for your business.