First Birthday Greetings (and Thanks)

BDayCake1candle.jpgWhew! One year!

Yup, it was one year ago today ... 27 July 2004 ... that I made my first Post at tompeters.com.

What a year! Blogging, as I've said before, has become the Epicenter of my professional life. Better said: You (Our Community!) have/has become the epicenter of my professional (and, sometimes, personal) life.

I have learned so much from you! And I, a "professional communicator," have learned so much about communication—ahem, make that "conversation," a different kettle of fish.

I've learned that it's fun to rant ... just to see what comments it attracts. I've learned that we can have fun ... and be deadly serious. I've learned that that overused word ... Authenticity ... is incredibly important in a Blogging Community (phonies and egocentrics are revealed as such pretty quickly). I've learned (the mellow version of being "Dan Rather-ed") that if you get your facts wrong, you'll hear about it ... quickly. I've learned that if you let your biases show, which is part of the idea, you'll nonetheless be reminded of it, for better or for worse.

I've learned that many of us are not afraid to share some pretty personal stuff. I've learned that we're ready and able to express strong opinions, but that 99% of the time we are respectful of opinions we think are all wet. I've learned/re-learned that principled, thoughtful, even if noisy, disagreements make the world go round ... and often lead to learning as we process a thread in our individual fashions. I've learned that a "community" knows far more than even the most expert of its members ("the wisdom of crowds" ... or some such).

I've learned how much there is to learn!

I've learned that when I suffer "Bloggers' Burnout," you'll tolerate my retreating into a shell for a while ... and that if I do retreat from time to time it ups the odds of doing good work over a longer span of time, rather than feeling I have an obligation to crank out crap just to get a Post up. (And in those "time outs," I've especially learned how dependent ... mostly in a good way ... I've become on our Community & Conversations.) (I've learned that our community is so potent that it can help me, by its very existence, cope with personal and professional irritants and setbacks.)

I've learned that all sorts of people from all sorts of places ... who don't Comment ... nonetheless follow our threads avidly (which is fine). I've learned/re-learned the age-old truth that the more you give away the more you get in return. I've learned that often short, controversial Posts generate more discussion than lengthy, essay-like Posts.

I've learned, that as in life, people join a community and drop out and then sometimes return (or not). I've learned that, as in "life," we are especially indebted to a few members, like Trevor, who take Our Little World seriously ... and devote a lot of time and thoughtfulness to making our little world a better/more interesting place. I've learned that "news" gets old ... fast; but that truly wise thoughts remain timeless. I've learned/re-learned, in that regard, that most of "wisdom"/learning actually emerges from everyday occurrences/exchanges, not Oceanic Struggles over Grand Issues.

I've learned how Incredibly Great and Educational & Fun it is for me (and presumably all of us) to have such a geographically diverse Membership!! I've learned that, time-zone differences notwithstanding, there are a lot of fellow insomniacs out there!

I've learned that although the "big idea" is freeform, stream-of-consciousness Conversation ... it takes a devoted team (think, in our case, Cathy & Erik & Halley & Phoebe & Shelley & Steve Y ... to mention but a few) to "manage" and maintain and facilitate and constantly improve "all this" ... and make it feel seamless. Mostly, I've learned how Cool & Enlightening & Fun & Emotionally Engaging & Mega-important "all this" can be/is!

There are surely bigger Blogs than ours, but there are none that are more serious about debating and engaging and adding wisdom to a set of issues that are in fact important to the way we deal with and contribute to the World around us. Yup, this is a joy and a hoot ... and actually damned important!

Happy Birthday #1 ... to All of Us! (And a Big Thanks from me to you!)