Kristen Havens began her journey into social media in 2000. As a shy but raging egomaniac writer she found blogging to be the perfect medium to express her views and opinions. Kristen found even more .. she discover that the internet is an amazing, efficient, and often quite meaningful place to find like, literate minds hanging out together and exchanging ideas and experiences.
Blogger Story Teller: Kristen Havens, My Back Pages
When I first started blogging, around September 2000 (on a hand-coded site FTP'd to Tripod), I was an aspiring screenwriter in a new city. I had a lot of energy and hope, but not a lot of outlets -- so I did what any self-respecting social isolate would do. I started a website to talk about it.
In those early days, blogging for me was a way of taking something long-running and private -- my self-deprecating chronicle of day-to-day aspirations and humiliations -- and turning it public. I didn't enter into the endeavor with hopes of building an online community or making friends. But as a writer and therefore a shy but raging egomaniac, I felt a burning need to express my wit to a public audience, even if it was an audience of two or three.
Over the years, that audience of two or three grew to an audience of ten or twelve, then twenty or thirty. They followed me from the hand-coded site to Blogger, and then to Typepad. Now I have 45 Feedburner subscribers and get a modest but consistent amount of daily hits to my site.
My readership has never been large, but what it has been is loyal and life-saving, both in its offers of material and emotional support. One reader secured me a part-time job when I was anxious for work to supplement my freelance writing. Another -- a journalist for the L.A. Times -- sent me an email telling me one of my poems was "exhilarating". A third referred me to his literary agent friend, who needed someone to set up and consult on a blog for one of her authors.
This third opportunity was the one that changed everything for me. Suddenly my hobby had given me something tangible and enjoyable: well-paid work that utilized my full suite of writing, editing and web geek skills. As an added bonus, I was working for the publishing industry inside my apartment, in Los Angeles. Those are two atypical statements I'm able to make within a single sentence. I'm very lucky.
As it turned out, that initial pro blogging job lead to other jobs working with authors on social media campaigns, and it's all snowballed from there. With the proliferation of social media sites and the rise of giants like MySpace and YouTube, suddenly everyone's aware of what I've seen first-hand since the late 90s: that the internet is an amazing, efficient, and often quite meaningful place to find like, literate minds hanging out together and exchanging ideas and experiences.
It feels right that so many bloggers, who took to the internet out of the need to express and connect, are now able to get some return on their investment of time, energy, and carpal tunnel syndrome. And it feels even more right that this very human need is fueling the new revolution online.
I'm excited to see where Web 2.0 and social media goes, and like
everyone else, I'm struggling to keep on top of the developments --
particularly how they impact publishers and authors. It's a thrilling
and daunting time to think about the impact technology will have on
writers and writing.
So thrilling and daunting -- and busy -- that I haven't had a chance to complete my own business blog, though I expect it to be up within the next few weeks. Yet again, I'm being driven to blog by need -- the need to jump into these conversations and help in some small way to shape the world of words.