Today it is 10 years since my first blog post on April 23, 2003 when I became the first councillor in the UK start a blog. My PR blog followed shortly after and the first post was on July 8, 2003.
I’d like to say I had amazing insight and realised then how important blogs and the rest of social media and social networks would become. However, the truth is rather more mundane. When I was first elected as a local councillor in May 1999 I was one of very few to set-up a website. However, as I’m not a developer or designer, it was quite hard work to keep it relevant and up to date. And as I was very busy as both a local councillor and running my own PR consultancy it was time I didn’t have. That’s why when I first started reading blogs I thought it looked much, much easier and faster than trying to run a website.
Only two UK politicians had blogs before me. The first was former Sheffield Hallam MP Richard Allan and the second was Tom Watson MP. Richard stepped down in 2005 (his successor is current deputy prime minister Nick Clegg MP) and he is now a member of the House of Lords and works as director of policy in Europe for Facebook. Shortly after I started my councillor blog The Guardian did an article about me ‘Blogging for better bins’.
My PR blog was one of the first in the world, although it is a bit harder to track the exact timelines here as some people have changed blogging platforms or domains and archives aren’t always available. I was in the first 10-2o to start a PR blog. Some of the few before me who are still blogging today are Phil Gomes, Tom Murphy and Neville Hobson. Those starting shortly after include Richard Bailey and Philippe Borremans. This highlights one of the benefits of blogging as I’m now friends and have met them all except Phil (who I’ve only met via Google Hangout).
Both my councillor blog and my PR blog were hosted on a now defunct blogging platform called 2osix.co.uk, which was the UK division of a German blog publishing platform. Some of the people at 20six that I came across back then are still active today. PeerIndex founder Azeem Azhar and Sunstone Capital partner Max Niederhofer were both involved, as was freelance journalist Johanna Payton.
Unfortunately the 20six sites are now unavailable, but you can still see an archive at Wayback Machine. This was my first PR post which explains why I chose 20six rather than the more popular and well-known Blogger:
My second post was hopefully more interesting and was about Alastair Campbell, the BBC and Andrew Gilligan in which I managed to avoid using the word Iraq, but did use the word frisbee.
My first councillor blog post was on Blogger, but I then switched it to 20six as well:
I deliberately let my councillor blog lapse when I was no longer as a councillor as it was always meant to be about local council issues rather than a generic political blog. I do however occasionally update Bruce on the World, which is my political and personal blog for posts that aren’t relevant to my professional PR blog.
My PR blog has had three platforms –first 20six, then Typepad and now a self-hosted WordPress blog.
This post is to say a huge thank you to all my readers and subscribers (so thanks Dad!) for sticking with me over the 10 years and hopefully A PR Guy’s Musings will still be going strong another ten years.