What could have been? What can be!
When I hear of people who have been blogging for 10 years and are fixtures on the internet, I am always secretly impressed and jealous, and feel like somehow I missed the boat. The truth is, however, that while I wasn't "blogging" per se, I did have a website in 1997, and was actually quite interested in the broader implications of the internet and the web.
In 1997, which was the last year of my undergrad, I wrote a paper entitled "Virtual Space and Idea-sharing Amongst Public Interest Groups in Canada." (I would post it here except that I haven't been able to find a paper or electronic copy for a while now.) Thinking about it, and some of the ideas I was working on, makes me realize that, in what would be a somewhat updated and enhanced version, that paper could be extremely relevant today. Indeed, if I had continued my research along those lines I may have been in a very interesting place now in terms of the work I was doing and the opportunities available to me.
Of course looking back longingly or regretfully isn't a very useful exercise. Instead, I guess I should take this as a lesson and, in the future, have more confidence in myself, my ideas and the importance of exploring them. I do tend to sell myself short sometimes, and I often hesitate to invest a lot of effort into ideas for fear that the effort will be wasted. Not a very productive attitude, but one I guess I have to work on.
I think it was Nora Young's interview with Seth Godin on Spark that got me thinking about this. Seth talks about having to do something that feels risky to truly make yourself indispensable. He also talks about given up fear and control in terms of interacting with the internet, which I think is pretty relevant for me as well. So much of what I do or don't do is based on an elaborate calculation in my head about what the possible outcomes might be. But, as I think Mr. Godin might point out, it really is impossible to know what the possibilities are until you try something.
So, for the New Year, here are a few things on my agenda: More doing, more creating, taking more chances and having more fun doing it.
If nothing else I'll have a lot to show for 2010.