It's been a while since I blogged regularly but it is something I have missed since blogging less frequently over the last few years. Time to fix that! :D
Back in 2003, I was one of the first 12 people to start a blog at Microsoft. This was a pretty big deal at the time: Microsoft was one of the first major tech companies to stand-up an official blog. Even more importantly, Microsoft decided to trust its employees to blog responsibly. This gave us a communication outlet with no filtering, no censoring, no pre-publication review process, etc. - we just blogged!
And, boy, did we! :)
Through the mid-2000's, I blogged several times a week about Microsoft's various Distributed Systems technology stacks (esp. .NET Remoting, COM+/System.EnterpriseServices, MSMQ/System.Messaging) and the up-coming changes that would arrive with the introduction of Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, correctly pronounced "In" - "Di" - "Go" ;) ).
Blogging became one of the fastest ways to communicate why, how and when these changes would arrive and how developers could start designing and building systems that would be well positioned to more easily adopt WCF when it arrived.
I then moved into a role where I owned much of Microsoft's position and strategy for Identity, The Identity Metasystem, Identity Federation, Windows CardSpace. Again, I blogged extensively on this subject matter.
This was all in the early through mid-2000's - long before Twitter, Facebook, etc. Blogging was, at the time, one of the most efficient ways to communicate ideas and information, solicit and listen to feedback, learn, and respond proactively. Blogging was also a great way to invoke and engage in discussion and debate, and a great way to release some of the excitement building-up in the team while we built-out the various products we were working on. And blogging didn't require me to wade through the swamps of process and procedure mandated by more formal publishing and communications mechanisms such as magazines & websites (e.g. MSDN) or formal corporate publication mechanisms (inc. whitepapers, books, newsletters).
My blogging decline
My latter few years at Microsoft were spent building features for Visual Studio Team System Database Developer Edition where I couldn't talk as openly about what we were building until long after we were "done" with the code, so I blogged less frequently. After leaving Microsoft (towards the end of 2010) and forming my own consultancy, most of my client work was entirely owned by the client and I could no longer talk as freely as I once had about what I was doing. My blogging gradually ground to a halt and by blog became dormant.
But I always missed it!
Blogging, for me, was a catharsis; a release; a discussion with many fascincating people from various backgrounds and perspectives; a way to test out ideas; to share my observations, experiences, techniques; and to learn from others' feedback.
As a temporary solution, I took to Twitter in 2009. Originally was uncertain as to whether my tweeting would go anywhere, but I found a vibrant community including many of the people I had come to meet via my blog, along with many others from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints and perspectives.
However, while one CAN engage in sensible debate via Twitter, it's hard to communicate a substantial point, and it's hard to share things with more context and background. Also, as Scott Hanselman points out, Your Blog is The Engine of Community and Your Words Are Wasted. If you blog, on your own domain, you own your words, your context, and your message. More on this in subsequent posts ;)
Scratching the blogging itch
Over the last year or so, while my professional environment has opened up somewhat and as my experiences grow, I've started to get the urge, no - the need - to scratch the blogging itch once more.
I'll still be participating regularly on Twitter, StackOverflow, etc. - but I'll be starting to blog more often about some of the cool technologies I am playing with, about my views and perspectives on some of the amazing changes sweeping the world of technology and software development, and I'll talk some about the process of building startups from the ground up - warts 'n' all :)
I hope you'll find my posts interesting enough to come back and visit often, and I look forward to hearing your constructive feedback.