The earliest email I could find about Geekadelphia happened on Halloween in 2007, when Tim and I registered the Gmail account. That's right, on Halloween. Night. Sadly, we weren't up to much back then. These days, Halloween doesn't pass us by without a massive party with our friends Indy Hall. Seriously, check out the photos from this year, thanks to Mikey.
Since those early days, the blog has gone on to see over four million total hits in five years. We've thrown a ton of events, launched an awards show that's been sold out twice, and we've been featured in just about every bit of local Philly media.
It's a simple website that, quite simply, changed both our lives.
And all we wanted to do was ramble about the nerdy things that made us happy.
When friends, family, or colleagues are considering launching a blog, starting some sort of online identity... they always ask me the same thing. Why? What can I possibly get from having a blog? What's in it for me?
Well, to celebrate the five year anniversary, here's what Geekadelphia has done for me and what starting a blog could do for you. From a job to new friends to professional contacts, the site has given me a lot.
And feel free to copy these tips are start your own blog. You wouldn't be the first to rip off us.
Me and Tim's bikes, outside of the Quirk office. We work close enough to grab lunch these days.
1. IT CAN HELP (AND LAUNCH!) YOUR CAREER: Flipping through some of the older posts on Geekadelphia and on my personal blog, I found myself amused at the fact that I'd talked about Quirk Books in one of my earliest posts.
My 25th post on Geekadelphia was about a cubicle fashion / design book published by Quirk. That was in December of 2007, and the site had been live for a little over a month. For some additional perspective, I've since written 1,400 posts and the site has published over 3,300 entries.
I'd go on to do book giveaways with Quirk, post about their book trailers, had them donate swag for fundraisers, and even had a number of past employees show up at my events. Fast forward three years, and I was working there, as a result of the connection I made with them.
Point is, having built an online platform where I handled social media, interacted with bloggers, ran events and contests, etc... helped make me an attractive possible employee in the field of social media marketing. My first job here in Philly, back with Uwishunu, was largely landed due to my personal blog and experience with bloggers at Tango Magazine. This time around, it connected me to my future employer, and I'm happy every single day I go to work.
And in terms of my writerly pursuits, I've been able to freelance for a number of bigger publications, like the Philly Weekly, Philly.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, etc... because I built a place to help establish myself. And because sometimes I have good ideas. Sometimes.
Oh, and fun fact. Tim, my co-founder and BFF, posted about P'unk Ave in a funny, early post, comparing his workspace to theirs. It was the 10th post on the website. Four years later... he works there now.
Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars
2. GIVES YOU A PLATFORM: There's a book deal on the horizon that I can't quite talk about yet, and one of the big reasons it is happening is that I have a proper platform.
It's a fact, few things are more attractive than an author that already has a solid audience.
Don't believe me? Look at local Philly-area authors like Marisa McClellan and Anna Goldfarb. Marisa created a fantastic blog about her canning adventures, and now has a beautiful cookbook out with Running Press. Anna's hilarious misadventures and musings on Shmitten Kitten helped show off her brilliant wit and sharp prose, and now she has book out with Penguin.
I mean, it isn't as easy as that, of course. You have to have good content and the ability to draw in an audience (gifts that Marisa and Anna have been VERY blessed with). If you figure out how to do that though, the results can be fantastic.
It might take a while, but once the platform is there, great things can happen. Bloggers go on to write for bigger places, sign book deals, and even get TV shows.
Fact: Seven people in this photo I met because of Geekadelphia. One even writes for me.
3. YOU'LL MEET NEW PEOPLE: There are a bunch of people in my life right now who I probably wouldn't have met if it wasn't for Geekadelphia.
Marketing people, publicists, writers, authors, fellow bloggers... the list goes on. Some become professional contacts and others become friends. I celebrated my 30th birthday not too long ago, and several people were there because of this silly blog of time.
Start a blog on the Internet, meet friends IRL. The community you build online can eventually surround you offline. It happens.
Joe Osborne, former Geekadelphian, now full time Associate Editor at Games.com
4. CAN ELEVATE YOUR FRIENDS: A number of bloggers for Geekadelphia have gone on to have seriously fantastic writing careers. These days you can spot them writing with Joystiq, Engadget, AOL Games, and other stellar places. Some of my current writers are actively freelancing for bigger blogs and the local alternative weeklys, first getting their start with Geekadelphia.
For me, the blog was meant to be fun, a pet project. And for those who take their blogging a little more seriously than Tim and I, the blog is great way to start building a portfolio. The fact that the website can do that is something we're both incredibly proud of.
Because seriously, helping someone you care about succeed at what they are great at... well, that's just the best feeling ever.
Adam Schmidt of Drink Philly / The Drink Nation
5. CAN POTENTIALLY BECOME A BUSINESS: Starting a blog can eventually become a revenue generator. While Geekadelphia makes a little bit of money as a result of ads, it really isn't a proper business. The ad money that comes in is used to pay my bloggers and donate to events and projects (usually via Kickstarter) that I find worthwhile.
But for some, like my friends over at Drink Philly (now The Drink Nation) and Technically Philly (now published under Technically Media), it's become their source of income. While writing this post I went over to the Technically Media site, and beamed at their short history in the about section. I'm so proud of those guys and gals.
Why? Because they took the time to hustle and made their websites a business. Running a blog gives you the opportunity to make a livelihood out of your passion.
So there you have it. Five years, five excellent reasons to start a blog. Help your career, meet cool people (probably the best one!), help out your friends, give yourself a platform, and in the end, hopefully make some money. If you really want to.
Here's to another five years. Let's do this Tim!