Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

5years - Lessons And Insights: Sniggering About Blogging ... And The 'Original Gangsters' Of Blogging

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 19, 2009

I've been writing about my five years as a journalist blogger and the many lessons and insights I've experienced. Five years is a good time to reflect about what I got myself into when I left the Financial Times.

I had very little experience of the blogger world in 2004. I knew that my buddies Om Malik and David Galbraith were bloggers but I didn't read them. I had a typical attitude of a journalist at one of the top newspapers about the emerging world of blogging: Give me a break.

I was writing 4 to 5 news stories a day, plus a news analysis, plus collaborating on feature articles with FT journalists in 200 plus news bureaus around the world.

I remember sniggering about blogging with my colleagues at the FT and other newspapers. I remember visiting with Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM's top strategist, sitting in the stylish offices of IBM HQ set in a lush sylvan valley, with a deer peeking through the window, dismissing blogging. (Irving also soon started blogging and is of a much different opinion. Here is his blog: Irving Wladawsky-Berger.)

I thought I knew what "blogging" was about. But it quickly turned out I didn't.

Once I left the Financial Times to become the first journalist to leave a major newspaper to make a living as a "journalist blogger" (and without having blogged at all) it was a huge revelation.

I thought that "blogging" was all about writing lots of news stories and analysis -- it was but it wasn't. It was a whole lot more. And that's what Dave and Om were trying to tell me way back when.

You can't know it unless you do it. And that's what I advise people today, whether it is blogging, Twitter, or anything. Reading about it, being told about it, does very little. Experience it and you will know it so much better.

I finally got it. And it opened up a whole new world of people that I didn't know where there!

Suddenly, I had fallen through a trap door into a whole new world of early pioneer bloggers. I was a newbie and I still feel like a newbie compared with this group.

I'm talking about the pioneers of blogging and the whole new media world. In 2004 there weren't too many of those people around.

And by becoming a journalist/blogger I suddenly was part of a pool of people that were smart as hell, passionate, and crazy in one way or several.

And the extraordinary thing about this group is that they are still (mostly) around.

In the hip-hop culture they would be respectfully referred to as "OG," Original Gangsters. And there is a lot of similarity between the blogging and urban cultures of rap.

- There is the notion of 'keeping things real.'

- There is a lot of braggadocio, a vocal self-reference of great things done, or great thoughts thought first.

- There is a lot of playing with language, deliberate misspelling of words, making up words (I do it all the time.)

The OGs I started off with are still around. But most of these 'Original Bloggers' are much more than that, they are also Original Thinkers and that's what inspires me.

Here are some of them in no particular order (here is a Twitter list: http://twitter.com/tomforemski/original-thinkers/)

Om Malik - GigaOM
Dave Galbraith - David Galbraith's Blog
Robert Scoble - Scobleizer - Exploring the 2010 Web
Dave Winer - Scripting News
Ross Mayfield - Ross Mayfield's Weblog
Renee Blodgett - Down the Avenue
Nick Denton - Nick Denton: The long and illustrious history of bile
Jason Calacanis - The Jason Calacanis Weblog
Steve Gillmor - TechCrunchIT
Dan Farber - Dan Farber
Nick Carr - Rough Type
Jeff Jarvis - Buzzmachine
Mike Arrington - Techcrunch
Danny Sullivan - Daggle
John Paczkowski- John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD
Richard Edelman - Richard Edelman - 6 A.M.
Sam Whitmore - Sam Whitmore's Media Survey
Andy Lark - Andrew Lark
Jeff Clavier - Jeff Clavier's Software Only:
Steve Rubel - The Steve Rubel Lifestream
Dan Gillmor - Dan Gillmor
John Furrier - The SiliconAngle
Anil Dash - Anil Dash
Paul Kedrosky - Infectious Greed
JP Rangaswami - Confused of Calcutta
Tim O'Reilly - O'Reilly Radar
Frank Shaw - Glass House
Shel Holtz - a shel of my former self
Shel Israel - Global Neighborhoods
Dennis Howlett - AccMan
Mike Manuel - Mike Manuel's Blog
Richard MacManus - ReadWriteWeb
Jen McClure - Jen McClure's Ruminations
Jeremy Zawodny - Jeremy Zawodny's blog
Stowe Boyd - /message
John Battelle - John Battelle's Searchblog
Roger Ehrenberg - Information Arbitrage
Marc Canter - Marc's Voice
Gabe Rivera - Techmeme
Craig Newmark - Craig from Craigslist Indulges himself
Jeff Nolan - Venture Chronicles
Chris Pirillo - Chris Pirillo
Jeremiah Owyang - Web Strategy
Charlene Li - Altimeter Group
Tara Hunt -HorsePigCow
Scott Beale - LaughingSquid
James Governor - Monkchips

- - -

Please see:

5yrs: Lessons From A Blogger/Journalist - The Start of A Series

5yrs: Where's The Disruption From The Internet?

5yrs: Meeting Cisco's Dan Scheinman and Realizing Every Company Is Now A Media Company

5yrs: Wish Everyone Well . . .

5yrs: Where Have All The Blogs Gone?


5yrs: Building A Better Mousetrap


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