Monday, January 28, 2002

The joys of weblogs. Mike and I started this weblog on 01 January 2002. The inspiration for it came in a roundabout way: Doug Kaye was scanning books on Amazon, noticed some of Mike's book reviews and then contacted Mike to let him know that he had a new book out titled Strategies for Web Hosting and Managed Services. Doug wondered if Mike would be interested in reviewing it. Mike checked out Doug's site and fell in love with weblogs on the spot. The rest is [recent] history.

Prior to starting this weblog and its companion Postcards from the Revolution we had spent a lot of time creating single-topic web pages. Mike and I share a compulsion to promote professionalism and to share resources with anyone who values them. The problem with putting up so many repositories is after a point keeping them up-to-date with news, new content and the such is time consuming. In fact, what we managed to create was a potpourri of pages that morphed into a giant hairball from a management point of view. Worse, two of these pages were newsletters (Infrastructure Technology Management and Project Management).

We were grappling with the problem of how to breathe new life into these, and decided that what we needed was an interactive discussion forum to make the information exchange a living thing instead of static pages. We reasoned that this would also draw in knowledge and opinions from others, so we created the IT Operations Management Discussion Forum to augment the Infrastructure Technology Management newsletter and Project Management Discussion Forum to augment the Project Management newsletter. For good measure I created the Women in Information Technology Discussion Forum with the goal of mentioning younger women who are in the profession, as well as providing a forum for women in the industry to exchange ideas and advice. None of the forums generated much interest, which is evidenced by the dearth of posts and participation.

While we felt that we were not making much of a contribution through the forums, site statistics for each of the single-topic pages and each of our home pages did indicate that these sites were popular. We also started tracking hits on the weblogs and discovered that this one, Notes from the Field, is frequently visited and read. For some reason Postcards from the Revolution does not enjoy the same number of visitors, but the traffic has picked up. Another contributing factor is that weblog was created on 21 January and is still relatively new.

This brings me to the single-topic pages that we have. One thought was to eliminate them altogether, but they are popular and don't require any effort to leave them in place. If you haven't already checked them out the following whirlwind tour will add some clarity to the virtual hairball that we've created:

Now that you know what we have scattered about the web please help yourself to anything that sparks your interest or will help you with your job. I'm hoping that you'll also consider actively participating in our forums and take the time to see what we're doing in our Postcards from the Revolution weblog.

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