Turning 10

JordonCooper.com is a decade old todayTen years ago today I published my first post on this site.  I wasn’t sure if this blogging thing was going to last but since then I have posted more then 11,000 times to the site and the traffic has grown quite a bit.  There hasn’t been many changes to the site.  It was first powered by Blogger, then Blogger Pro, and then back to plain Blogger again after Google purchased it.  After 8000 posts, I moved the site to WordPress.

I started to post here because Andrew Careaga wrote a book called e-vangelism back in the early days of the interweb and he published a newsletter that talked about technology and faith.  I never read the book (sorry Andrew) but I did read the newsletter.  In it he talked about Blogger and how you could use it to keep a church website updated.  That is how I discovered Blogger and the rest has been history.  When I started blogging, there was Andrew Jones, Rudy Carrasco and myself blogging about the church and theological issues.  Other than them I learned a lot from Doc Searls, AKMA, Jason Kottke, Caterina Fake, Jeneanne Sessum, and Rebecca Blood.

I am not really sure why I keep posting here.  There never was a plan behind it.  I had no ambitions to be a thought leader, create a movement, make money, or achieve fame.  What I wanted was a place to explore ideas, keep track of interesting things and later on, share things with friends.  Hopefully I have done that.

I have also made some enemies.  One city councillor continues to block me on Twitter and called me an “first class asshole” over some comments I made last summer, one prominent Christian leader threatened to sue over comments, I think it’s a contributing factor for why my dad and I haven’t talked in eight years and more than one former colleague has questioned my Christianity over my more liberal views.   Still the site has brought more joy than angst so it’s all good.

There has been a lot of friends made as well.  Too many to list but thanks for the emails, comments, tweets, and time spent together over the last decade.   Hopefully there is an interesting link or two in the future.  Of course with entire companies moving from the open web to closed Facebook, I am now quite a bit behind the times but that’s the story of my life.

The StarPhoenixNot sure what the future brings.  I am writing a weekly column now at The StarPhoenix so some of my longer (and better written pieces) will be posted there.  I’ll still be posting links, sports (including my scheme to purchase the L.A. Dodgers) and some photos as well.

Thanks to everyone who reads this rather odd collection of links, rants, and articles.  You have been the ones that have made this so much fun.

The StarPhoenix Community Bloggers

TheStarPhoenix Community BloggersThe StarPhoenix has been a part of my life since we moved to Saskatoon in 1984 from Calgary.  In fact I think it was a big reason why my mom chose Saskatoon over Moose Jaw.  She literally dreaded the idea of not having a big city paper.  It was there for me everyday growing up during it’s good times and their bad times (someone in parole say hi to Conrad Black for me) and now Mark grabs my Kindle every night and sits down and reads it before supper.  It’s the starting point of my day at work and once I am done with that, the first site I check out at night is Dave Hutton’s City Hall Notebook once I boot up my computer. Outside of breathing and eating, it’s been the longest running constant in my life.

When I was asked to put a logo and link on my blog back to The StarPhoenix and be a part of their community bloggers, I was thrilled.  While I have always rejected logos and link requests like this, it’s my paper, my hometown and my community.

Of course with The StarPhoenix being a print publication, never let me know the community bloggers section was active.  So after seeing the referrals in my log files, checking it out, reading their horrible description of my blog, grabbing a screen shot of the blogger graphic, and cropping it, we are good to go.  At least they spelled my name correctly, which is more than what CBC has ever been able to manage.

To kick this off, I should reciprocate with a link to their excellent feature, 52 Things to Love About Saskatoon, an ongoing feature about what makes Saskatoon a great place to live.  They are only eight weeks into it but I agree with the first seven and am about to check out the Park Cafe this week.

The New York Times Meets Dooce

The paper of record profiles Heather Armstrong.  Here is how it started.

She is the only blogger on the latest Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media, coming in at No. 26, which is 25 slots behind Oprah, but just one slot behind Tina Brown. Her site brings in an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 a month or more — and that’s not even counting the revenue from her two books, healthy speaking fees and the contracts she signed to promote Verizon and appear on HGTV. She won’t confirm her income (“We’re a privately held company and don’t reveal our financials”). But the sales rep for Federated Media, the agency that sells ads for Dooce, calls Armstrong “one of our most successful bloggers,” then notes a few beats later in our conversation that “our most successful bloggers can gross $1 million.”

By talking about poop and spit up. And stomach viruses and washing-machine repairs. And home design, and high-strung dogs, and reality television, and sewer-line disasters, and chiropractor visits. And countless other banalities of one mother’s eclectic life that, for some reason, hundreds of thousands of strangers tune in, regularly, to read.

I lost my job today. My direct boss and the human-resources representative pulled me into one of three relatively tiny conference rooms and informed me that the company no longer had any use for me. Essentially, they explained, they didn’t like what I had expressed on my Web site. I got fired because of dooce.com. FEB. 26, 2002

Today the sleek headquarters of Blurbodoocery Inc. — the corporate identity of Heather and Jon Armstrong’s company — is on the 1,000-square-foot third floor of their sprawling six-bedroom home on a cul-de-sac in Salt Lake City, where they have lived since June.

In one corner is the glass-walled office of their newest employee, John LaCaze, who came aboard a few months before that move, and whose job description — everything from answering e-mail to ordering lunch to making sure that time is not wasted because, after all, it is money — has earned him the nickname “Tyrant” on Heather’s blog. Next to LaCaze’s office is the studio, equipped for audio and video. In the center are Jon and Heather’s work spaces, each dominated by two enormous computer monitors and an array of cartoons and kitsch.

Next to the door of the office is etched “Heather B. Armstrong, President,” but by her desk is a nameplate that reads “Heather Hamilton.” That was who she was in February 2001 when she wrote her very first Dooce post. She was 25, with a degree in English from Brigham Young University and a job at a start-up in L.A. “In those days when you said you had a blog, people thought you had a venereal disease,” she says now.

Dooce was a nickname that grew out of an inside joke — a takeoff of “dude.” Unlike many bloggers (particularly women) whose initial goal was to update family living far away, her postings were never meant for her relatives. She wrote of the liberation she felt leaving her parents’ Mormonism behind, of sex and caffeine, of dating and work. In the summer of 2001, Armstrong’s site was receiving 58 hits a day. On a whim she e-mailed Jason Kottke, one of the earliest online aggregators (whose own site was still a hobby and had not yet become kottke.org) and asked him for technical advice. He linked to Dooce, and her readership leapt to 2,000 daily hits.

In Focus

In Focus with Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor, who created The Big Picture as a side project at the Boston Globe has moved to The Atlantic Monthly where he is curating a new photoblog called In Focus for them.  Regular readers of the site (and staff at work) know about my passion for The Big Picture and it’s nice to see Taylor getting rewarded for his efforts.  I am not sure if the Boston Globe realized what they had with that site and I was surprised they let him get away and basically do the same thing with another paper.

While I am on the topic of media and photos, check out what the Oregonian has done with FlickrThe Oregonian is posting all the photos that go with stories in the paper to Flickr.  Now one odd thing is that they don’t link their photos to the stories online but if they did, they could drive readers to their site and at the same time give a greater visual sense of the story with photos on Flickr that didn’t make the cut.