2009 was a great year for me and this blog. I had a ton of fun writing, I learned a lot and I got the opportunity to meet and work with a whole host of really smart, engaging people who opened my eyes and inspired me. In this post I’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2009, share some links and thank the people who really made an impact on me this year. Here’s my best of 2009:
My Top 10 Posts of 2009:
#1. Did Mark Zuckerberg’s Inspiration for Facebook Come Before Harvard? – A special thank you to Richard MacManus for giving me the opportunity to guest post on ReadWriteWeb earlier this year. The Facebook back story has become a growing obsession of mine since the release of Ben Mezrich’s book Accidental Billionaires: The Founding Of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. I did a considerable amount of journalistic research before the release of Ben’s book digging at where the idea for Facebook originated that lead to the article that went up on ReadWriteWeb. Fortunately, the syndication of the article onto the NYTimes (that my Mom was particularly proud of ;-)) surfaced a whole network of people who were around Mark Zuckerberg at the very beginning, before Harvard. There’s still some non-trivial elements of the Facebook story that run the risk of not make it into the history books, so my research is on-going. Stay tuned for some exciting stuff in 2010 on that front.
#2 Focusing On Value: How I’m Changing How I Use Twitter : By far the most popular article on this blog this year by measure of Tweets and comments. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion and a special shout out to Nate Ritter, who started the conversation that led to the post.
#3 100+ Killer WordPress Resources: Even though I wrote this in late 2008, it was still the most heavily traffic’d post on my blog in 2009. Chalk that up to some good SEO that get’s me in the top 3 positions for the term “WordPress Resources” on Google.
#4 The Best Techniques For Building Your Tribe On Twitter The Right Way: A lot has changed with Twitter since I wrote this article, but much of it is still useful. I still use most of these tools and methods regularly.
#5 Emergence: What Developers and Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Evolution Of The Retweet: What matters is not what your software can do, but how people use it. Culture on the web is constantly shifting. Entrepreneurs should watch changes in usage patterns to maximize value for users.
#6 How To Say Thank You On The Social Web: There’s an ingrained culture of reciprocity out there on the web that has it’s own currency. This post offers you some tips on the unwritten rules for participating.
#7 Status Culture – Public vs Private and Why It Matters – Discusses the difference between how we use different platforms to share our content, and how those differences shape online culture, the way we behave, and the evolution of systems and who plays.
#8 The Cookie Jar Principle – a short post with a useful metaphor on how we should approach relationships. I was happy this caught on and got handed around.
#9 Built It, Then Make Them Experts – Principals and best practices we can take from the video gaming industry that startups and software developers can use to accelerate adoption and customer happiness.
#10 How To Use Google Trends Like A Pro – A few great tips on how to take your Googling to the next level.
Giving Thanks – People Who Made A Big Difference To My Life in 2009:
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but here are a few people who deserve a tip of the hat.
Alex Iskold and Fraser Kelton – I met Alex and Fraser when I sent their startup AdaptiveBlue a harmless feedback email back in 2007. That single email has (arguably) had a greater impact on my life than any single piece of web writing I’ve done to date. It started a string of online conversations that has turned into two friendships. Both Alex and Fraser have individually gone out of their way to help me out on several occasions when I needed it and I owe them each a debt of gratitude for coming through for me in the clutch. I wish both of you (together and individually) great success in 2010.
Nate Ritter – I met Nate at a Tweetup at the beginning of the year in San Diego after reading about him in Wired the year before. He’s genuine, brilliant and he’s become a great friend. He is also the best person to have in the room when someone says “Anyone up for Guitar Hero?”.
Mark Lovett – At the beginning of this year, Mark and I met for lunch. He told me he was starting a blog. I had no idea how committed he was or how much he would inspire me. This year I’ve enjoyed joining others in having important discussions on his site GlobalPatriot and watched Mark rapidly grow his online presence, run ultra-successful fundraisers and meetups. He’s a person to watch in 2010.
Angie Swartz – In between running her new company SquareMartinimedia, her blog SixFigureMomsClub and speaking at events around the country, she was kind enough to invite me as a guest a few times on to her radio show TwitterTalk radio. I had a blast. Special thanks to Angie for great times at the meetups that I attended this year. She always goes out of her way to say hello and strike up great conversation.
Clay Hebert – Clay is the founder of Tribes Win and co-founder of Fear.less online magazine. He’s great to chat and share ideas with. He writes a great blog and has a unique way of looking at the world that I totally appreciate. I expect to see a lot more from him in 2010.
Ryan Graves – Ryan’s become somewhat of a partner in crime on the web. His stamina for writing and producing content consistently impresses me. He’s always up to something. We started out blogging at almost exactly the same time in 2007 and I’m on his blog a lot – his stuff is full of energy and he writes almost daily.
Vada Dean & Matthew Clower – Expect these two gentlemen to make waves in 2010. It’s been great getting to know you both. Matthew, thank you for making important connections happen at the precise moment I needed them. Vada, thank you for the many insights you consistently add here on this blog.
Alex Rainert – Alex writes a great blog called EveryDayUX.com that I frequent. Damn good stuff. Recommended reading for any design junky.
Christian Messer – I’ve been aware of Christian on Twitter since 2007. From the very beginning I singled him out because he was posting things that I found useful. I learned more from his links in terms of design than almost any other person on Twitter. Check him out @whiplashdesign.
That’s it from me for now. Many thanks to all the people online who helped me learn this year and who’ve taken the time to leave thoughtful comments on this blog and connect over the web. I’ve reached out to most of you individually to express my gratitude, but I haven’t gotten to you all yet, but don’t worry, I’ll get to you soon enough. That’s something I’m going to do much more of in 2010. Happy new year, everyone.