In the year 2000, my life was significantly different than the life I have now. I suppose it happens every decade or so: you turn around and realize that somewhere along the way, your life had taken a turn into an entirely new world. But before marriage or parenthood or working from home as a writer and consultant, I was someone else.
Then, I was a singleton living in London, working for a technology company, selling futuristic technologies that didn't actually exist and wouldn't for years yet. It was the heady, early days of the Internet, when Yahoo! stock was worth a fortune, when Nortel Networks had had their first bad quarter but we all assumed they were going to recover, and when all the people who had learned archaic computer languages in order to fix the Y2K problem were nervously shuffling their feet looking for work.
One day I got an email from a friend with a link in the bottom to her "weblog." Curious (and amused), I clicked. And what I saw would change my life forever.
It was just a simple webpage with one column of text. The title at the top, and paragraphs below, and that was it. In those early days there weren't fancy three-column headings or integrated ads or flashy whatevers or anything like that. It was just text. Just a story.
I was web geeky for sure -- I think I had about 5 Geocities sites by that point, including one about my cat. and this intrigued me. Do you mean to tell me that there's a platform just for writing? I could write somewhere where other people could read it? My very own column on the Internet?
I signed up for Blogger that night.
My early blog was a very Journal-type affair -- documenting my hunt for a flat in London that was both affordable and bigger than a breadbox; my frustrations with my job; my Rollicking PMS (TM). It lasted a couple of years before I took it down, nervous about the public nature of what I was writing, my findability.
But still, the bug had bitten. Within a couple of years I was back, with a new URL, new boundaries and new ideas. The space had changed: people were still writing for the love of it, but also making money, creating businesses, working with brands, getting paid gigs. People were also getting together to talk about this amazing new space we all were participating in creating. And it was at one of these conferences where I met the people behind BlissDom Canada, who are now my employers, my inspiration and my friends.
This year, we hosted 500 bloggers and entrepreneurs and social media experts in Toronto, to give everyone a chance to talk and learn and get inspired and get energized and get ready for whatever their own next adventure is. And it's amazing, because just a little over a decade ago, this space didn't exist. We've created a whole ecosphere with our own two hands and a keyboard -- and now it employs thousands and is a social force that has changed -- is changing -- the world.
People write blogs for all kinds of different reasons. They do it because it's fun, to keep in touch with their family or friends, to document a journey or a passion or any number of things. But we all share one thing, and that's our desire to tell our stories -- whatever they are. And at BlissDom Canada, we celebrate the storyteller in all of us.
Follow Shannon McKarney on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zchamu