One year. Wow!
When Donncha asked me to lend my WordPress assault skills to the then named WordPressMU, the backbone upon which WordPress.com is built, I have to be honest. I didn’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm to tackle another WordPress project. Like that ever stopped me. ;-)
I only took a few minutes to decide on the topics for my new WordPress.com blog. I needed something to blog about why I worked on breaking it. I summed up my new blog’s purpose in my very first WordPress.com post published August 16, 2005:
Lorelle on WordPress will be a look at how to use WordPress and make it work FOR you, not against you. There is a lot you can do with a WordPress site and it can be simple or challenging, depending upon how much time, effort, and customization you want to put into it.
We will be talking about the new WordPressMU, the multi-user version of WordPress that is ideal for hosts to allow them easy and fast WordPress sites for multiple users. We’ll be addressing the various ways you can customize WordPress and your WordPressMU site. We’ll cover WordPress plugins and accessories that will help you add functions and capabilities for users and you, as the site administrator.
With those few words, my purpose on Lorelle on WordPress has not wavered. Though, admittedly, I never thought I’d find over 800 articles to write about WordPress and blogging. That’s right. Over 800 articles in 365 days. WOW!
The WordPress.com Invite Frenzy
The first invitations to WordPress.com went out to the lead volunteers and developers of WordPress. We came in with all of our expertise for breaking the full version of WordPress and immediately started breaking things.
Meanwhile, Matt Mullenweg, founder of all things WordPress, started a media and blogosphere frenzy over invites to the “exclusive” and “secretive” WordPress.com, following the recent successful marketing ploy by Google for their email service. A WordPress friend of mine put his WordPress.com invite on Ebay and the crowd went wild.
WordPress.com was the talk of the blogosphere. Everyone wanted an invite. I was asked constantly, as was everyone else. I got email, even phone calls, from people wanting an invite. Amazing. As people started pushing and shoving to get their invites, others started adding to the madness with contests with the an invite for a free WordPress.com blog as the reward. Incredible.
At the same time, downloads of the full version of the latest WordPress version topped 500,000, causing even more excitement over all things WordPress.
As with all deviations from a well-known product, there was a lot of confusion over the differences between WordPress.com and the full version of WordPress, so I wrote about what you can do with WordPress.com, as compared to the full version of WordPress. People didn’t seem to get it, so I followed up with an article on what to do with your free WordPress.com blog, which basically said:
After the first post or two, many WordPress.com blog users, who worked so hard to get an invite to WordPress.com for their own free blog, have no idea what to do with it. Some do, and plow into it with enthusiasm, but I’m seeing a lot of posts from new users who 1) don’t know what to do with their WordPress.com blog or 2) think they have to write about WordPress and WordPress.com.
Let’s kill the second myth right off the top. Even though it says “wordpress” in the domain name, your WordPress.com blog can be about anything you want. You are under no obligation to write about WordPress. A few of the first users have already destroyed the myth and showed off screen shots of the new Administration Panels and talked about the new features, so the blush is off the rose of WordPress.com. If you are an expert, helping through long time volunteering and development, then talking about WordPress on your WordPress.com is just one more extension of your already active involvement. If you aren’t, and just a fan, then have a few posts about WordPress, but then what? What do you blog about?
Now, I want to talk to the folks who worked hard to get the invite to have their own free WordPress.com blog only to arrive and not know what to do with it after they’ve just shouted to the world “Weeee! I got a WordPress.com blog!”
And thus began one of my first blog posts on the topic of blogging, expanding my topics beyond just WordPress.
Blogging with WordPress.com is very different from using the full version of WordPress. The most important distinction is that as the owner of a blog on WordPress.com, you are a part of the WordPress.com community. And I mean “comm-unity”. Communication and unity. We’re in this together.
On the Dashboard administration panel, we see a list of who is saying what around WordPress.com. We also see a list of the most popular blogs and blog posts, showing us what people are interested in within the WordPress.com community. There is now a WordPress.com Forum for sharing and discussing WordPress.com issues and getting help.
As part of the WordPress.com community, you play an important role in developing WordPress.com. From the feedback button in the Administration Panels, you provide WordPress.com developers with your input and feedback. In September 2005, I tried to put this into words we could all understand:
WordPress Comm-Unity: If you have the problem then I have the problem.
If you have problem with your WordPress.com blog, 300,000 other people also have a problem with their WordPress.com blog. By helping yourself by reporting on problems or giving feedback, you help all of us. We are all dependent upon each other for the success of WordPress.com.
Are The First WordPress.com Bloggers Still Blogging?
I highlighted many of the first bloggers on WordPress.com, both on and off the WordPress development team. Of special interest to me were the ones who blogged on WordPress.com unaware of the bubbling currents of change under the surface. They just blogged because it was fun, not technical. And their blogs represented the excitement and potential of what WordPress.com was really all about: blogging.
So, let’s check in with some of the first WordPress.com bloggers I wrote about in those first few months and see if they are still blogging on their one year anniversary.
- Space Photos by Jtintle continues to bedazzle us with the most amazing photographs from outer space, including a breathtaking image recently of The North America and Pelican Nebulas. Space artwork.
- Fredoland covers news about Flocks and continues to do so, and features a recent funny post called “A lesson in communication…”.
- Ubuntu continues to remain a popular blog about all things Ubuntu.
- Mike Fertig’s Because the World is Round is still going, challenging our thinking and offering new twists on the world around us, even reporting on his one year WordPress.com anniversary.
- Becky Works: Becky Works is still Becky but it’s now called “I thought I’d have it together by now…The Musings of Middle Age”, and she is still going strong, challenging herself, her religion, and motherhood as she bounces through her life.
- Princess – A Mother’s Story and Lectori Salutem by Wybe stopped posting after only a couple months, though their blogs remain standing.
- Jacob Appelbaum was the “hot blog” after Hurricane Katrina as Jacob blogged about what he saw and experienced, but his last post was the end of September and he was off doing something else.
- The University of Montana’s Art Department Newsline continues on with announcements and activities, though the department’s activities are over until September.
- Rishma, Derek’s derkilicious, Unweak, and Alice Hates Wonderland, personal blogs about life in general, are now defunct.
A Month Long Tribute to a Year With WordPress.com
One year. Over 800 articles across 365 days. And what a year. As a tribute to what is possible to do with a WordPress.com blog, or any blog, for the next 30 days I will be highlighting collection of topics I’ve written about over the past year. I’ll look back at how I blog with WordPress and WordPress.com, how others blog, the changes and improvements in WordPress, and about WordPress and blogging in general. A retrospective. My first.
Hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
One Year Anniversary Review Articles
- One Year Anniversary Blog Self-Review
- Comments on Comments
- Comments on Comment Spam
- Blogging Tools Analysis and Reviews
- Helping WordPress.com Users
- Choosing a WordPress Theme
- WordPress Plugins
- WordPress For Beginners
- Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging
- In the Beginning WordPress Begot WordPressMU Begot WordPress.com
- Social Bookmarking Boom
- Hurricane Katrina
- The Power of the Link
- Internet, Web, and Computer Tips and Tricks
- Tags, Tagging, and Categories
- Accessibility and Usability
- What are Feeds?
- Blog Housekeeping and Maintenance
- Searching and Search Engines
- Blog Writing
- Blogging and Blogging Tips
- Blogger’s Rights and the Risks of Blogging
- Blogging About Bloggers
- WordPress Tips, Tricks and Techniques
- Web Development
- Designing WordPress Themes
- Designing WordPress Themes for the Public
- Web Design
- Most Popular Articles on Lorelle on WordPress
- Kudos and Surprises
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