"It's an Acer 286 with 1MB RAM and a 20MB hard drive."
In 1988 I started my new job as a sales manager for a computer company in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
In this year the Hubble telescope was launched, and the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was released and was the most technically advanced live-action/animation hybrid in days before computer animation became widely used in filmmaking.
The space shuttle program resumed a little over two years after the Challenger space shuttle disintegrated soon after launch and Rick Astley was never giving you up, storming the charts with his brand of fantastic songwriting and incredibly brilliant singing. Astley made a belated return to superstardom in 2007 when Rickrolling became an internet sensation.
In an IT career spanning 27 years there have been plenty of ups and downs, but by far the most challenging to date has been blogging.
On the face of it, blogging is easy. You write your 500 words, you post it up, and you hope people will read it. You blog regularly, and you try to make your piece interesting to the reader. You make your blog posts known on social media, and over time you climb the search engine rankings. At least that's the theory anyway.
In That Case, Blogging IS Easy.
Writing a successful blog, one that stands out from the crowd and is worthwhile reading, one that people return to read over and over again, that is an entirely different proposition. Writing 1000 words, 2000 words or more becomes a task for only the truly dedicated.
As a human race, we are heading rapidly towards a point where nearly all information is known. Want to know how to get red wine stains out of a white carpet? There's a blog on that somewhere. Want to make an advanced telescope? Yep someone has a blog on that too. Making incendiary devices, how to iron your shirt, the global population counter – if you can think of it, it's already been covered.
It's Not What You Say; It's How You Say It
That's an oldie but goodie. And it's never been more relevant.
Writing a blog that you care about is entirely different to writing another blog. If you care about your subject, then the emotion spills over into your writing. Becoming a real person who experiences highs and lows is much easier for a reader to connect with than a bland matter of fact blog that shows no sign of life under the writing. There may be a faint pulse, but it's barely breathing and on life support.
The challenge is not to find ever more obscure subjects to write about; it is not to pick subjects that you have no interest in just because there is little competition, it is to write in a way that engages your audience. Writing with humour, with emotion, with discipline and in a way that shows you care deeply about your subject.
With thousands of blogs launched every day and more subjects covered than ever before, the only hope of standing out in a crowd is to be bold and to be different.
Learning how to write great headlines, understanding how to structure your paragraph and entice the reader into your story. Learning how to engage with the audience, these are all required learning tools for any aspiring blogger.
But the most important is to be human and to care genuinely about your cause.