So what’s this blog all about?

WordCamp Chicago Attendee BadgeA couple of weeks ago, I attended WordCamp Chicago 2012–the annual meetup of Chicago-area (and more remote) WordPress users and developers. It was down at DePaul University, and I spent two days getting my geek on with a bunch of people who are both delightfully like me and sometimes uncomfortably too like me for my own good. Amid the codespeak and the swag, I absorbed a ridiculous amount of information from some very talented, intelligent people. And I probably missed more than I caught–it was a very information-rich environment, and I’m sure I lost two nuggets of crucial information for every one I retained. And even with that, it was worth every minute.

One of the pieces of advice that DID stick, though, was from Andy Nathan. And it was terrifying. He suggested tweeting several times a day and blogging at least once a day. He blogs several times a day, and after following him on Twitter for a couple of weeks, I can testify to the fact that he tweets constantly. He makes Roger Ebert (a compulsive tweeter if ever there was one) look like my grandmother.

I’m not going to get that done (at least not at the outset), and I think promising myself that I will is a setup. But some of the discussion during Andy’s session about why people tweet and blog (and why their readers read their content) was very helpful. The last time I blogged regularly, it was a self-indulgent salute to myself. A bit about business and technology, some thoughts about what I was trying to learn and do, but I always seemed to end up spouting what I felt were truisms. Too political, too philosophical, and too often very random. I had this little thing I tried to do called “Tom Learns” that was some random thing I learned that day. All it did was imply that my days were full of disconnected experiences and that my knowledge of things was spotty.

Andy’s recommendations, among others, included making a list of 100 blog topics. A bi-weekly post will burn through those in a year. I don’t think that’s going to happen, as half of what I’d put on that list is likely to substantively change in the next six months anyway. But I’m making a list of general topics and some specific ones–my hope is to post a couple times a week and tweet more than that. Not only to become a source of good information for clients and colleagues, but also to force myself to constantly examine and re-examine the industries in which I work as well as my decisions to use certain platforms, technologies, and logic.

Andy’s session was a wake-up call. And it was a call to action, too. Since that session at WordCamp, I’ve been stewing about what I can write about that would be of value to my clients; be of value to the WordPress, Drupal, and publishing/ebook communities; drive traffic to my clients’ sites; and, frankly, drive traffic to my site.

I’m not a big fan of mission statements on websites, as a company’s mission statement should be a source of clarity for the company and its employees (often of no interest to the customer or client). But I’m eager to share some thoughts about what I hope this site will do for all of us (you, its readers, and me). I hope that we can share and talk about

  • news and opinions about the platforms with which I develop sites;
  • more general news and opinions about web development and online trends;
  • updates and thoughts about the rapidly shifting publishing industry;
  • the very occasional Just-Neat-Thing. If Facebook has given us nothing else, it has provided the occasional too-good-to-not-share link or article. If I think something would be fun for you all (and not too irrelevant), I won’t hesitate to share it.

So please check back frequently. I’m going to start working on some substantive posts tonight (as well as my monstrous list of blog post ideas), and I hope we can discuss the odds and sods of website development and book design and production.

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