Recapturing "The Digital Footprint of Joey Coleman"

I hadn’t been blogging like I used to for a long time, years actually. I'm working to fix that, and return to the fun I used to have blogging.

In the early days of JoeyColeman.ca, I had a lot of fun experimenting with design, banners, and trying to figure out what my new online presence would look like. (The present homepage background was created for my website circa 2008/9)

oldbanner

I always had fun with the slogan. At one point, in 2005, I even changed the slogan to "JoeyColeman.ca - Faithfully Stroking the Ego of Joey Coleman since 2004".

That was fun, a freedom of the early days of the blogosphere before the social media outrage machine. Could you imagine the fury if I posted that ego tagline today?

The banners varied over the years, generally reflecting my lack of ability in Photoshop.

JoeyColeman-Banner

I barely worried about how my blog would be perceived, which is ironically reflected in many early blog posts expressing views I no longer hold.

My personal blog served as a release, one I plan to take back from the demands of my professional writing.

Joey on the Internet Pre-Personal Domain

The journey to JoeyColeman.ca began in 1991, when I first went "online" visiting local bulletin boards systems. I've written a whole blog post about the pre-internet days as I experienced them in Hamilton.

At some point in spring 1995, I got my first few minutes on the World-Wide Web. It was at a computer shop on King Street between Wellington and Victoria here in Hamilton.

I went to a webpage about Paris, France. The shrinking world was how the Internet was seen then. I can still recall the low-res image of the Eiffel Tower.

I was hooked to the Internet, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2003 that I actually owned a computer of my own.

1996, I was a Grade 9 student at Glendale Secondary when one lunch hour I walked into room 242 – the tech computer room.

Mr. Smith, a computer teacher, was starting a webpage club and I was there to learn about something called “HTML”. I quickly put together a webpage, complete with a fireworks gif.

Next was a Yahoo! email account, then Hotmail, at one point I had a joeycoleman ZZN account. Eventually, I got a Geocities page and flooded it was spinning gifs and even a guestbook!

In 2000, I was one of the first municipal candidates to have a election website - it was basically my campaign brochure. My friend Zeeshan took care of this, I think he hosted it on Angelfire, and there was a URL redirect from another domain that made it easy for me to advertise.

I never received any emails from potential voters, but the Brabant weekly newspapers did email me.

In 2001, I joined the Canadian Forces and other than maintaining my Yahoo email address, my online presence went completely offline in accordance with the regulations at the time.

JoeyColeman, the .CA

JoeyColeman.ca itself started the evening I left the military.

After turning in my release papers, I went home and opened a good bottle of wine I purchased to celebrate the occasion. I sat down to figure out where the Internet was at the time.

April 2004, blogs were new, they were "hot", and they were interesting.

Just as I pulled out my credit card to purchase joecoleman, my friend called to tell me to meet her early for our nightly workout at the gym. It was during that workout she suggested I go back to Joey (I started using Joe when I ran for election at age 18, and stuck to it in the military).

Her arguments were sound, and I really wanted to signify a change. Joey is much more approachable than Joe.

I took JoeyColeman.ca as my domain, very excited to get a .ca became available (.on.ca was previously all that was available or a .com).

I purchased hosting and launched my MovableType blog. I wasn't looking to write, I was looking to code. To be able to experiment in MT, I had to write.

JoeyColeman.ca Goes From Personal To National

For the first eight months, my website content consisted of poorly thought out opinions, photos of Winnipeg where I was attending university, and the odd rants about food services.

In January 2005, I randomly and suddenly got elected to student union council. There was no glory in my victory, the other guy didn't want the job and within my college I was the only one interested in doing it.

I quickly took to the role, and my rants about food services became action. I regularly posted about student union activities, and openly posted discussions on the Canadian Federation of Students - which my student union was "considering" joining.

I was completely naive about the Federation, and my posts were meant to advance discussion among the 150 or so members of my college. I had no idea what would follow.

As the months progressed, I started getting visitors from across the country. Sources started to provide me with information, I started to compile links to student politics stories, and wrote some original coverage.

My big break came in the fall of 2006, without boring you with details, events enabled me to cover big stories across the country as student newspapers kept to their once-a-week schedules and Web 2.0 platforms enabled me to aggregate nearly real-time content.

My biggest day of traffic was a student union impeachment at Simon Fraser in October 2006. Over 25,000 unique non-robot IPs visit my site that day as I provided the only "live" coverage of the event.

A month later, on another student union story involving the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union, I was quoted by Canadian University Press in an article regarding the CFS and USSU. It was fairly standard.

The CFS threatened to sue, a chain of events followed; I gained significant exposure, my networks grew, and exactly four months later, I was working for Maclean's.

My website goes quiet

Movable Type as a platform went from the dominant self-hosted blogging CMS to a has-been by 2007; but I was invested and didn't move to Wordpress.

My blogging was now professional at Maclean's, and I had news reporting in addition to that. My editor encouraged me to add some of my trivial posts to Maclean's such as my daily pinball scores. By fall 2007, my personal site was barely updated.

A database crash in August 2008 forced me over to Wordpress, I never really set it up. Then Spring 2009 brought a series of personal crises that knocked me down for a period of time. When I got back up, my life was radically different. Before the crises, I posted to my professional blog at least once a day. Often, I wrote three or four pieces each day.

Twitter became the place I placed my short thoughts, I didn't write as much as I watched my professional employee seek more "viral" content, and I became disillusioned with for-profit media.

I left Maclean's, took a contract with The Globe and Mail,

Transition to Hamilton

In 2010, my passion for journalism was more than re-ignited as I moved from national journalism working out of Toronto to local news in my hometown.

Most of you are familiar with that path, and what will follow for the next four years as JoeyColeman.ca became about local news. With the launch of ThePublicRecord.ca as a domain in 2014, my personal domain is once again able to be my personal website.

Ghost Blog

A few weeks ago, I moved my personal website to Ghost CMS,

Let the journey begin again.

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