I remember when trackbacks used to get my heart racing. Remember those? Trackbacks are notifications left on our blogs so that we know that someone found it interesting enough to link to or discuss.
One day back in 2005, I noticed a trackback appearing that informed me that this blog called Global Voices had linked to a post about Bolivian politics. Next thing I know, an email appeared in my inbox from David Sasaki inquiring whether I would be interested in writing weekly posts about what was happening in Bolivian blogs. Naturally I felt honored, but I also felt a responsibility to properly represent my country for a global audience that seemed to generalize and reduce my country to only a few limiting characterizations.
My first post was called “The State of Bolivian Blogs” published on September 30, 2005 and at the time there were maybe a few dozen blogs mainly written by Bolivians living abroad or ex-pats residing in the country. With the limited number of source materials, it was easy to keep tabs and to get to know the Bolivian bloggers personally, many of whom perhaps considered me a historian of those early days. Looking back at that post (no images or blockquotes!), it reminds me a simpler time where social media had yet to arrive and where most of the online activity was limited to IRC channels and online newspapers.
Little did I know at the time that writing for GV would open so many doors. Soon after writing for GV, I was invited to a luncheon hosted by Harvard in DC, where I was living at the time. The BBC would call many times looking for a Bolivian watcher who also spoke English to comment on the current events within the country.
One thing led to another after many weekly roundup blog posts which had expanded my existing knowledge of the country, and eventually leading to me becoming Latin America and Spanish language Editors, and then Rising Voices Director. People always ask me how I ended up getting to what I consider my dream job, and I always point to those early days as a volunteer writing regularly for GV and becoming better acquainted with our community and our mission. And it all started with a simple trackback and my first post.
Funny how similar our stories are!
Loving this line from your post: “It is often said that you can go anywhere in the world and you can find a Bolivian.” More often than not these days Eddie that Bolivian is you.
More seriously – fascinating to go back to early posts – I wonder how many of these early bloggers are still working in online spaces nine years later. Are you in touch with any of them?
Thanks, Ivan. There are some that I still recognize on Twitter, and maybe one that still blogs. However, most I never head from again, but I did make some good friends with whom I still remain in touch, but those golden days were pretty unique.