1,000 Blog Posts Later – An Introspective

1,000 Blog Posts Later – An Introspective

Today’s post marks a bit of a milestone for me, as this post is the 1,000th one since I started this blog back in September 2008.

While I tend not to “celebrate” various milestones too much, with the exception of (occasional) annual birthday posts, the 1,000th one is a little bit different. It’s one of these weird numbers that “says” something, whatever that something is.

It’s funny to think of the number 1,000 – it truly only seems like yesterday when I started this blog. I’ve been blogging since way back in 1999, and had a few writing projects that have morphed into blogs since then – but this one is the one that’s truly stuck and, I guess, the one that defines my goals and outlook.

So today’s post is going to be a bit of an introspective (and thanks to everyone on Facebook who gave me some great ideas on what to write about) on what’s changed since that very first post. If this is something you’re not interested in, I hear you and feel free to come back on the next post when normal service will be resumed.

For those of you still hanging around, I thank you – and let’s dig in.

Everything is Fluid

When I first started here, it was a continuation of a public relations blog that I had, back in my early solo consultancy days. The goal was simple – to share thoughts and ideas on social media and where that fit in the business world.

For the first six months or so, I was probably way too myopic for my own good – everything was based around social media in the purest form. Don’t do this; be like that; it’s all about the conversation, blah blah blah.

And you know, perhaps at that time it was okay to write about things that way. But everything’s fluid – we need to keep moving. Staying in the same place leads to boredom and stunted knowledge.

Looking back, I probably listened to and read too many kumbaya social media blog posts and bought into the mantra. I come from a traditional marketing and communications background, where everything is set in stone and the relationship to the sale is a true and trusted path.

Yet this path doesn’t allow for too much veering off to try new things, so seeing the risks people were taking (or appearing to take) in social media was a bit liberating.

However, it soon became apparent that these risks weren’t truly born with any business acumen – it was more from a “I’m pretty popular with this stuff I’m saying and I’m just making shit up – maybe I’ll keep this up a while!”

Once that realization kicked in, the tone of this blog changed quite a bit and I was determined to make this part of the web one that’s always evolving, and letting its vision, voice, whatever you want to call it, be shaped by the readers and commenters as much as it was by me.

Thankfully, that’s worked so far.

Being Wrong is Okay

Most people hate to be wrong. Most people hate to admit they’re wrong even more. For many people, admitting you’re wrong is a sign of weakness. And if you’re a blogger and you admit you’re wrong, then why should the community you’ve built up hang around?

Yet it’s okay to be wrong. In fact, we need to be wrong more and celebrate that fact – because it’s the only way we grow.

I’ve written posts on here where I’ve been cocksure in my belief that the opinion stated in it is the right one. Heck, perhaps the only one. But, of course, that’s bullcrap.

[pullquote position=”right”]None of us have all the answers. Hell, very few of us have a decent amount of answers when it comes to most things[/pullquote]

So why do we feel we should be right the majority of the time when it comes to our opinions?

The biggest learnings I’ve taken from this blog is when someone comments on a post and completely blows my point of view out the water, whether from their opinion or from backing it up with facts and statistics.

Does it make me look an idiot? Sometimes. But ignoring the better opinion or statement when it’s right there in front of you and everyone else that reads the post is more idiotic.

If we truly want to grow as people, whether personally or professionally, we need to be open to other points of view. If we’re putting our thoughts out for the world to see, we really need to be open to other points of view.

Otherwise, why even share in the first place?

The Fallacy of Numbers

We get so wrapped up in numbers at times.

At Christmas, we want more presents than we got the year before – same goes for birthdays.

In high school, we want to lose our virginity at a younger age than our friends (and then have more girlfriends/boyfriends than them). At work, we want to get bigger raises and more recognition than our colleagues.

And yet, numbers are so superficial.

Sure, they may make us feel better and enable us to have a better “life”, but that depends on your definition of what a better life is (for me, it’s being able to spend evening and weekend time with my wife and kids).

When I first started this blog, I was so wrapped up in checking the numbers that everyone says matters – new subscribers, new social shares, unsubscribers, comment count, etc.

And, sure, I still afford a little smile when a new subscriber joins, since that offers an opportunity to get to know them in the comments and see what makes them tick.

But this concentration on numbers hurts us. Just as chasing more presents at Christmas turns us into spoiled brats, so does chasing blog numbers turn us into the blogger we don’t want to be.

We start writing generic list posts, just to try and hit that viral social share gold. We stop being opinionated and lose the voice that attracted readers in the first place. We write linkbait and ass-kissing posts so the highlighted folks will come by, say we’re great, share and then maybe, just maybe, invite you to their next conference.

Do we really want to be that blogger? Is that why we started in the first place, and continue when others stop?

By all means, care about how your content is perceived – but don’t let the numbers rule you. Now when I get email alerts that tell me someone has unsubscribed and they offer the reason why, it simply tells me we’re not a good fit anymore and they’d be better catered to elsewhere.

And that’s okay, and the way it should be.

A Blog is Just a Blog

We hear so many people (and I’ve been guilty of this) telling us what we should do when it comes to our blog. “Build your list!”; “Cover it with ads!”; “Sell shit!”. And, yes, we can do all that.

But we don’t have to.

[pullquote position=”right”]The great thing about a blog, and something I’m seeing more of, is that we control what it is and what it does for us[/pullquote]

As I mentioned earlier, this blog has taught me that being wrong is okay. It’s also (I believe – feel free to disagree!) made me a much better writer and thinker than I was four years ago. It’s enabled me some wonderful opportunities, for which I’m eternally grateful.

And it’s allowed me to meet some of the funniest, smartest, humblest, caring and downright awesome people, either in the comments, discussions around the web, or at speaking events I’ve been invited to because someone was kind enough to read something here and ask me to come out and speak.

But, at the end of the day, a blog is just a blog.

Because this one is primarily a business one, it makes sense that business things happen because of it. But, to be honest, if they didn’t, I wouldn’t care – it would just mean I’d have to do some more “hustling”, if you like, away from here.

And that’s something we can all do.

Don’t let anyone tell you your blog needs to be about this, or you need to do that, to make it a success. I know people who don’t give a crap if their blog is read or not – it’s an escape valve for their innermost thoughts and fears, and just getting it out of their system into something physical makes their lives easier.

A blog is what we wish it to be – and every choice is the right one, for us. It can be world-changing globally; it can be world-changing personally. And isn’t that all that really matters at the end of the day?

The Next Chapter

So I guess I’ve rambled a little bit here, and I apologize if you’re still here and bored out of your skin. I don’t often write posts this long, and it probably won’t happen again for a looooong time (if it does at all).

I’m also wary that this post may come across as a delusion of self-grandeur (to paraphrase Han Solo) – hopefully if it does, it’s not too much.

I sincerely thank you for being here at whatever part of the 1,000 posts you jumped in on and, whether you’re a regular or an occasional visitor, I hope you find at least some of the stuff here useful.

I don’t know what lies ahead in between now and the next 1,000 posts. I have an idea of some things that will happen (and more on that in the next post, probably), but then that’s the fun part – taking it as it comes.

Thanks for the first 1,000 memories – here’s to continued fun ahead. Slainte!

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  1. says

    Happy anniversary, and what a milestone. An interesting read around what you started as and how it’s evolved, but more importantly how you’ve got staying power. May you share 1,000 more (but just not all about Klout ;))

  2. says

    WOOT! Congrats! 1000 posts is a milestone and one that should be celebrated, especially with all the praise and fans that it has earned along the way. Keep sharing your point of view, it's the reason we read this post.

  3. says

    People were losing their virginity in high school?
    Now I’m blushing.

    Happy 1000th post. I liked this. I felt like you were speaking directly to me. Stop worrying about everything and just write. It’s way more fun that way.

  4. says

    Congratulations on your 1000th entry. It's nice to read something that's real and non-intimidating. For a while there I was already thinking that social media and blogging for business became too technical and robotic already. I like reading articles made for humans (I err) like me.

    • Danny Brown says

      Thanks, Jennifer, and I hear you – it's what made me stop reading a few blogs in the space. While I get the need for jargon on certain publications, it doesn't need to be on every one just because we have the option of doing so. πŸ˜‰

  5. Judy Dunn says

    Wow. What a milestone. And, yes, I’ll need cup of coffee in hand to read this one. Thanks for all you do, Mr. Brown.

  6. says

    I especially liked the part about being wrong. I’ve never understood how people get so defensive when they are wrong and get called on it. If Lance Armstrong or Pete Rose would have admitted they were wrong, early on, their lives might have turned out differently and better, they certainly would have gained more respect from me.

    Your point about focusing on the numbers was interesting and no doubt true. I’ve never focused on the numbers and I have 12 subscribers. I believe you have 68,000 and we’ve written a similar number of posts, so I think there may be something said for focusing on the numbers a little.

    I read yesterday that an author needs 1000 loyal readers to make it as a writer. If a person focused on getting one new reader per day, it would only take three years to achieve that dream. I’m willing to spend three more years on my dream, but the question is, how do I find a new reader…today? I think I need to focus on the numbers somewhat, but your point is valid, I’ll not stop writing what I love to get there.

    Congrats on your 1000th post. You’ve built something that should make you very proud.

    • says

      The defensiveness has put me off so many bloggers I used to admire, mate. The snippiness in their replies to valid questions was just wrong on so many levels. Insecurity in their own knowledge, perhaps?

      That’s an interesting stat re. loyal readers – do you have the link to share? I wouldn’t mind reading that.

      And, hey, I believe congratulations are in order for you, you’re already past the 1,000 mark! :)

  7. Adam says

    Danny, congrats on such an auspicious milestone. What is impressive, besides the longevity, is that you’ve been blogging so long and still have so many fresh things to say! I always find value here, and I’m glad to have been present for part of the ride.

    Kudos! And best wishes for the next 1,000.

    • says

      Hi there mate,

      Thanks for that, that means a lot. Hopefully I don’t run out any time soon, but if so, I think that’s be the day to enjoy the run, and retire the thoughts. :)

  8. says

    Hi Danny,

    Congratulations on 1,000, sir!

    You’ve established an honest and effective social footprint, all the while contributing to shaping an industry and helping thousands of people understand a strange, powerful new media to leverage in business.

    I appreciate you and your work, sir… thanks for a great few years : )

  9. says

    Danny …with ‘a blog is just a blog’ you’ve profoundly said it all. It can be whatever we want, whenever, however; and it should feel good. A magnificent millenial acheivement for both your self’s – inside and out :)

  10. says

    Good work, Danny, I think I probably missed the first 800 or so, but am enjoying every bit of it now, so don’t stop. You make people stop and think, and you also bond people together in a great community through your blog, so it’s a pleasure to be part of that. Onwards!

  11. says

    That’s the good stuff right there, Danny. It’s why I read everything you write. Now don’t decide to suck during the next 1,000.

    You won’t, I know. Let’s grab a beer soon, my friend!

    Oh, and… CONGRATS!

  12. says

    Quick calculation. Carry the 4, divide by 181 then add the square root of 7.9 and if you were blogging since 1999……4745 days and 100 blog posts so one every 47 days. Not bad. Better than me. Grats on the big 100 Danny. Can’t wait to get there. 8)

    I give you credit I would of written the number 100 and that is it. Hit publish and nail that milestone.

  13. says

    Danny, blown away by the consistency and numbers man. It's amazing what can be built when we just stick to it. You know, I don't always agree with your stance on subjects (and I know you feel the same about mine), but it's because you're opinionated and strong willed that I continue to come back. You don't live life in the gray, and I really love that about you. And you make me think. Appreciate you sir.

    • Danny Brown says

      Hey there mate,

      Perfect points, and exactly why I love this medium so – the fact people can have occasional disagreement and yet still respect that point of view. Here's to you, sir!

  14. says

    Danny it is always a pleasure to come by. I appreciate the honesty and insight. I have learned more than a few things from you and the people you surround yourself with.

  15. Craig McGill says

    Danny, never mind "Hell, very few of us have a decent amount of answers", even less of us know the right questions in the first place. Congrats to 1,000 posts here and I look forward to what comes next.

  16. says

    Reading this has made my day after a long week. Nice to hear someone just say it is alright just to write for the art, the soul or the dollar. Thanks for giving us all such a big hug and right back at you 1000 times more.

    • says

      Hey there miss, sorry to hear you’ve had what sounds like a fairly tasking week. Hopefully things are turning around, and better times ahead! Have a great rest of weekend,


  17. says

    Big congratulations, sir (and sorry for screwing up your “time spent on site” stats … I’ve had this open for a few days)!! I know, first-hand, how hard it is to keep up a blog and I commend you for staying with it as long as you have. I think one of the things it has afforded you, as well, are a couple of interesting career choices, as well as a forthcoming book. Super proud of you!

  18. says

    I’m with Mila – I like thoughtful and real posts vs churn of the “same ole same ole”. 1,000 is an astounding number to me since I have not been blogging that long.

    I also appreciate people willing to put their views/designs/opinions out there to be labeled “wrong”. That drives all of us to be better.

    And many comments out in the world – about Sam – inspire a chuckle…

  19. says

    Congrats on the milestone Danny! Truly an inspiration to see that you’ve done this! Definitely reflects on your listening skills to be able to produce that much content! Looking forward to the next 1,000!

  20. says

    Now this was a lovely post. One of my favourite quotes (from the movie Mermaids) is- “Death is: Dwelling on the past, or staying in one place to long.” I love your notion of fluidity here. It is so important to learn and grow. Your point about being wrong, and how it makes you “look like an idiot”- good sir, being able to recognize good new information and modify your current schema in light of such knowledge makes you a self-reflecting individual with the ability to learn- not in any way an idiot. Thank you always for sharing your view.

    • says

      Hey there miss,

      That’s an awesome quote. I saw that movie back in the day (part of my Winona Ryder crush) and loved it, this quote completely fits what I recall of it.

      Thanks for the kind words and being part of this little part of the web, always appreciate seeing you here. :)

  21. says

    Congrats Danny on your success with your blog and business. I’ve been a fan of you for many years now and I’ve learned so much from you that has helped my business out greatly. Thank you for your information and the insight that you offer.

  22. says

    Hi Danny,

    Man, so sorry I’m late to the party. Any beer left?

    It’s been great connecting with you, Sir! I remember commenting about 1.5 years ago, before I even had a blog. You were one of the bloggers I was continually drawn to, because of your smarts, transparency, generosity, and sense of humor … we need way more of that.

    Plus I’ve learned quite a bit from you.

    My blog (or should I say daily writing habit, God I wish I had started earlier ;)) has also made me a much better writer and thinker, and is certainly leading to new and exciting opportunities.

    Congratulations! 1,000 post is quite the milestone.

    • says

      Sorry, mate @HowieWCC:disqus and @ginidietrich:disqus drank everything, and Gini doesn’t even like beer!

      It’s been really great watching you publish your blog and take it to where it is today, mate – that’s one hell of an active community you have over there and, at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?

      Cheers, mate!