My First ‘Bloggiversary’

UNIVAC

My, how time flies.

If I weren’t back on Atkins, I might be tempted to track down a cupcake and a birthday candle, because today is the first anniversary of this blog. (It is also, not coincidentally, the 208th birthday of the Library of Congress, a milestone this blog itself will not reach until the year 2215, long after the entire Internet has been downloaded onto nanobots and injected into our bloodstreams. Assuming, of course, that our new nanobot overlords still indeed call it the “Internet.”)

I don’t really have anything particularly profound to say about it, but when has that ever stopped a blogger?

Here is a short list of observations, lessons learned, and potential new directions:

1 ) The past year has been an incredibly fun voyage. I have treasured the interaction, the ability to communicate in ways that more traditional mechanisms don’t really permit, telling a few interesting stories you might not otherwise read about, and the thought that I have been able even in a small measure to stoke people’s interest in the Library of Congress.

2 ) You comment-spammers are persistent!

3 ) When we launched, there were fewer than 10 federal blogs, and we were — as far as I know — the first truly institution-wide blog among federal agencies. As of today, that list has more than tripled to at least 31. Even if it all ends tomorrow, it’s a distinction of which I’ll always be proud.

I’m also humbled that we have been able to provide many of our sister agencies (at least a dozen, I’m sure, but I’ve lost count) with guidance and advice as they wade into their own blogospheric waters. (Michelle Springer in our OSI Web Services Division deserves much of the credit here.) If being among the first has helped others to follow, I think that in itself is a pretty nice legacy to have.

4 ) I danced a little happy dance when we cracked the Technorati Top 10,000. We have basically a single post to thank for that. We were wallowing well into the 40,000s before that.

5 ) I have a meeting scheduled tomorrow with some folks internally to help plot a course for future improvements. Maybe I’ll bring low-carb cheesecake.

First and foremost will involve upgrading to the latest version of WordPress, but we want to look beyond the merely technical. (And yes, I’d like to fix a lot of those glitchy punctuation issues that seem to pop up on old posts. I’m told it’s a javascript something-or-other, but I don’t know what coffee has to do with anything.)

6 ) It’s taken longer than expected, but I still anticipate that this blog will leave “pilot” status and achieve formal recognition. This is probably more federalese than you’re interested in, but getting a policy in place also holds the door open to additional blogs sprouting up around the Library. Some of my colleagues are coming to me with great ideas, and I have to confess that I can’t wait to become an avid reader of other Library blogs. Frankly, my own writing bores me to tears — but thanks for sticking with me anyway.

7 ) Every day that I do not have time to post, I am wracked with horrible guilt. My various other duties come first, duties which are very much not in pilot status, but I know that regularity and compelling content build readership and a sense of community. I am very interested in building on what we started a year ago. Perhaps it’s time to make another run at wheedling some of my colleagues into co-author status. (I have to admit to being a wee bit jealous of other federal blogs with multiple contributors, although I am fortunate to have wonderful ideas and draft language that are often sent to me by colleagues.)

8 ) And finally, if the nanobots are reading this, I hope that they keep this blog — or whatever its successor ends up being — up and running. Access to knowledge is at the core of our mission, something I am confident will remain true long after I and everyone I work with today are long gone.

Meanwhile, we continue to take additional steps into Web 2.0. I anticipate that you’ll soon start to see a lot more video content from the Library in a lot more places, and much better stuff than my own interim slap-dash efforts. (What’s the deal with my “Brary of Ongress” avatar?!)

We’re talking about expanding on social-networking in meaningful ways. For instance, we’d really like to find a way to allow people to share their myLOC collections beyond just the typical “send a postcard” links, which are admittedly a little last century. Also, I’ve been dabbling in Twitter a bit in my spare time. I’m still intimidated by the thought of having “another beast to feed,” but I have to admit that I do like the concept.

We have a lot of whip-smart people around here with a lot of ambitious ideas. Resources and time permitting, I hope to help them realize as many of those goals as we can.

What do you think would improve this blog? Where would you like to see the Library go next in Web 2.0?

(Image of very old computer from the PPOC.)

9 Comments

  1. lentigogirl
    April 24, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Big Bloggy congratulations!

  2. Denise Olson
    April 24, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    From those of us who only experience the Library via nanobots, the LOC Blog has been a true delight. I look forward to more video tours not only of the exhibits but also giving us a look at the nuts and bolts and people who care for the record of this great country’s history.

    Happy anniversary and looking forward to many more!

  3. Jeanne Kramer-Smyth
    April 24, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Happy Blog Birthday!

    How about myLOC collections aimed at groups working on a project together?

  4. csdunklee
    April 24, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Happy blogday!

    And let us know your handle on Twitter, so we can follow your Tweets!

  5. Justin Thorp
    April 25, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    During my stint at the Library of Congress, probably the biggest blessing was being able to interact with the plethora off amazing people and personalities that make the institution what it is. For me, it was their excitement and passion which made the Library’s treasure trove of resources come alive.

    I hope that this and other blogs will become venues for those voices to come out from the other side of the curtain and face the world. Once this happens, it will be easier for the world to see and get that passion and excitement.

    I’d HIGHLY recommend reading Rohit Bhargava’s new book “Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back.” (http://tinyurl.com/4jbzl7) It hits on this idea really really well.

    Cheers,
    Justin

  6. Bob Meade
    April 26, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Thanks and well done Matt.

    Here in Australia, one of our cultural institutions which has a good take on blogging is the Australian War Memorial. Their blogs generally center around a specific exhibition or project and are done by the curators involved.

    Go to the home page here and see the links to blogs in the left sidebar:

    http://www.awm.gov.au/index.asp

  7. Aoleon
    May 1, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Happy Birthday LOC!

    I think having a blog for LOC is fantastic as I can see all the improvements that are being made on a monthly basis and the highlighted new content that the Library of Congress provides. Keep it up!

  8. Ben
    June 16, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Congrats on the year postin’ away

  9. Nate Robinson
    July 27, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Congratulations and happy birthday!

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