January 26, 2008, I made my first steps into the blogosphere, with my first entry on this blog. My main purpose was to give city residents, particularly those in Ward 3, some insight into the goings-on of council from my perspective, and some background into the reasons for my voting on whichever side of the issue that I end up on. I read somewhere that the average blog only lasts 3 entries, and I've seen a few with only one, so having managed to make more than 50 entries, that works out to about 1 entry a week - not too shabby.
So, after a year of doing this, what have I learned?
I've learned that a wide range of people read the blog, and most have said that they appreciate the information that I provide, and that they have learned details about the city that they weren't aware of before.
I've learned that members of the media check the blog, and will quote from it, which was rather surprising the first time that it happened. I've always been aware of the warning not to put in writing anything that you wouldn't want read at your funeral, and that has kept me careful in how I say things on the blog. Just as emails may end up in places that you never expect, so can blog entries.
I've learned that one voice can be heard, sometimes more clearly than a group of voices speaking in unison. And it has reinforced my belief that it is my responsibility to speak up for what I believe in, and not to try to please everyone, for in trying to do that, you generally please no-one.
An unplanned result of the blog is that readers have probably gotten a better sense of who I am, as a person, as I've shared some personal details about my life that I might not have otherwise. Those readers who don't know me outside of my life in civic politics now know that I watch old movies, have relatives in Ontario and Alberta, enjoy history, and have cats (despite being allergic to them - another personal detail). And I think that inclusion of my personal life is inevitable in a blog - it is made up of my opinions and perspectives, which are inextricably linked to who I am - and like everyone on council, I'm much more than a guy in a suit.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to speak freely, and to explore issues in far more depth than is possible at a council meeting. I realize that there are those who don't like the blog - fortunately, they always have the option not to visit this site.
If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't start doing this earlier. I was surprised at how easy it was to start, and I continue to find plenty to talk about. As we work through the budget process, and continue on in an election year, I'm sure that the topics will keep on coming.
"Real success is not on the stage, but off the stage as a human being, and how you get along with your fellow men." - Sammy Davis Jr.