Welcome to Bubble Blog, My Web 2.0 Memoir
Announcing my latest book, a memoir and internet history to be serialized on Cybercultural.
I’m excited to launch a project I’ve been working on for over a year now: a book called Bubble Blog: From Outsider to Insider in Silicon Valley’s Web 2.0 Revolution. I will be serializing the book here on Cybercultural, starting this week, and it will also be released as a paperback in early 2024.
The first post from the book will go up this Thursday, 2 November, 2023. If you haven’t already, I invite you to subscribe to Cybercultural today so that you receive the serialized book in your email inbox (you’ll receive two emails per week).
Bubble Blog is a memoir of my experiences running my tech blog, ReadWriteWeb, during the first decade of the 2000s (I mainly focus on the years 2004-2011). ReadWriteWeb was one of the key tech publications of the Web 2.0 era — for several years it was ranked one of the top 10 blogs in the world by Technorati — and was syndicated by the New York Times. The 2000s was a transformative decade for internet technology; it was when social media, smartphones and apps, and cloud computing all emerged. I chronicled this revolution on my blog. Also during this time, I traveled to Silicon Valley regularly and made (and lost) many friends along the way.
My book will, I hope, give you an inside view into what it was like building the modern internet — starting from before Facebook and the iPhone even existed.
A quick note about the Cybercultural subscription plans. If you subscribe to the free plan, you’ll receive all book posts and will be able to comment. So you won’t miss out on any of the book by subscribing to the free tier. But if you do want to contribute, there is a premium tier (£5 per month; about US$6) which includes exclusive bonus articles and behind-the-scenes content. There is also a special premiem tier — the “founding member” — which is £100 and includes a signed copy of the physical book when it is released early next year. But, as I say, I’m more than happy for you to sign up to the free tier — it will include all of the book content.
I wrote Bubble Blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to document the rise of the modern internet, as it happened during the first decade of this century. Although the term “Web 2.0” itself was controversial, that era of the internet laid the foundation for the world we inhabit now — always on and completely digital.
Maybe you’re working in the tech industry in 2023 and have sometimes wondered to yourself: how did we end up with a digital world dominated by extreme opinions and controlled by Silicon Valley insiders like Marc Andreessen and Elon Musk (who both happen to be my exact contemporaries). My book will take you back to the crucial first decade of this century, when the digital world truly began. I was there — at first as an outsider, but I quickly became an insider. I wrote this book because I want future generations to understand what happened to the internet during the 2000s, and why.
The other main reason I wrote this book is a bit more selfish. I may’ve been an insider during the Web 2.0 era, but that’s no longer the case. I sold ReadWriteWeb (RWW) at the end of 2011, after Web 2.0 had run its course. After I left, the site name was changed to ReadWrite and my ex-blog soon dropped off the Technorati and Techmeme charts. My own fate followed a similar trajectory — post-RWW, I became an outsider once more. So over the past several years, I’ve had a feeling that ReadWriteWeb — and indeed, the Web 2.0 era it represented — has been forgotten. I partly wrote this book because I want to bring RWW back into the zeitgeist, even as just a historical footnote.
Perhaps current tech entrepreneurs and media “creators” (to use the modern lingo) can learn from my experiences building RWW and chronicling Web 2.0. History doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme.
I hope you’ll join me for this journey into the heart of Web 2.0. The first serialized post will be released later this week!
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