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Happy 15th Birthday to One Man & His Blog

15 years ago, most likely at his desk at Estates Gazette‘s then Wardour Street offices, a frustrated journalist opened Blogger in his web browser. He came up with a punny name, and started his second ever blog. His first blog, on Livejournal, felt restrictive. It was clearly a semi-closed, inwards-looking place, great for chatting with friends, less good for publishing – something that one of Livejournal’s users was to learn from when he launched his site TheFacebook the following year. To find a wider audience our frustrated property journalist had to venture out onto the open web. So he started typing.

And he never stopped. 15 years later, that same journalist is still writing on that self-same blog.

And, yes, of course that journalist is me, and that blog is One Man & His Blog, which turned 15 a little over an hour ago.

Sure, I’ve changed url (from adam.tinworth.name to onemanandhisblog.com) and platform (twice – from Blogger to Movable Type and then to WordPress). But this blog remains the biggest corpus of work I’ve ever created, and by far the majority of my writing that’s available on the open web is stored here.

80 Stone Coffee

Today, I’m not sat in a corporate office, but in a small artisan coffee shop near Elephant & Castle, on my way to an afternoon of lecturing and workshops with students. It’s faintly terrifying to think that the majority of the students I’ll be working with today were in primary school when I started this blog, and some of them were in the very early years.

Last blogger standing?

At the point, I suspect that OM&HB is one of the oldest continually published journalism-centric blogs in the world. So many of my compeers have dropped the form, or been sucked into the journalism mainstream, which consumes all their energy for writing. Others have been seduced by the platform publishing game, and are publishing into Facebook or Medium where once they would have been in their own space.

I’m not going to do that. Not only are we right in the midst of learning of the dangers of giving your entire publication over to the platforms, but I also owe this site two major changes in my career. Back in 2006, it was the springboard that allowed me to move into editorial development at RBI, and then, 6 years later, the reputation that I’d accrued through writing here let me become self-employed, and earn a good living for the past six years, while freeing up more time to spend with my daughters.

Who knows where it will lead next?

Blogging away

I’m completely sure that my early-30s self had no idea where that simple act of starting a new blog would take him a decade and a half ago, but it was one of the best decisions in my life. (2003 was a good year for decision-making – I also married my wife that year, too, only a few months after I launched this site.)

So much of what I do I couldn’t image then. This blog pre-dates the iPhone and the iPad – where a substantial chunk of my blogging is done. It pre-dates Facebook and Twitter. Hell, it pre-dates WordPress.

That’s the joy of it, though. The world of publishing has seen unprecedented change in that 15 yers – and the pace shows no signs of letting up. There’s still plenty I want to write about and do. And I want to do it here, on my online home. The word “homepage” has fallen out of vogue on the internet, but that really is what One Man & His Blog is – my homepage on the internet.

Thank you to every one of the people who have visited, and a particular thank you to those of you who continue to race it regularly, be it via e-mail, RSS or Facebook. I value your time, you feedback and even your criticism.

15 years ago, I started with the belief that blogging could be a conversation. Despite everything, in 2018, that can still be true. Blog on!

Lead image by Tomas Anton Escobar on Unsplash

Journalism Training: SEO, Analytics, digital skills and more


Over the last four years, journalism training has become a core part of how I make my living. Feedback on my course has always been very positive, and I have many repeat clients, happily. However, there’s always scope for more – especially with two growing daughters‚Ķ ūüôā

I’ve finally got around to building a page outlining the¬†training courses that I’m offering right now.

Take a look. Let me know what you think. And if I can help you with consulting or training – just let me know.

Headshot(s): sorted

It started with a tweet.

Actually, that’s not quite true, but it makes a good opening line, so what the hell.

And the tweet looked like this:

One of my New Year “to-do”s – I don’t do resolutions – was to sort out and professionalise some aspects of my business. Now that it looks like I’m staying self-employed for the foreseeable future, I need to both upgrade my business admin (tax return done today!) and my online persona. For example, a set of pages on here describing the services I offer would be a good idea, wouldn’t they?

And I really, really wanted some decent headshots of myself. I’ve been shot by professionals twice, and I’ve not liked the results either time. The whole process was too “production line”. There was no attempt to express me. I was just corporate drone #1138. And that phase of my life is done.

I’ve been using what are, in essence, a succession of jumped-up selfies. But that couldn’t – shouldn’t – last. But I was a little stumped as to where to find the right photographer to get me some images.

Now, my friends over at Brilliant Noise had some excellent headshots done by lomokev in Brighton, which I’d always quietly envied. His work is great – but not quite what I wanted. And everyone else I saw was doing the standard corporate headshot.

So, basically, I took the easiest option. I procrastinated.

Mounting the stairs, in search of headshots

And then I saw Kristina’s tweet. She’s an ex-student; I did a few workshops with her and her cohort on their online presence. Her website blew me away – for someone who’d been seriously into photography for less than a year, her command of light and form was remarkable. ¬£60 seemed like a reasonable gamble for some decent headshots. And, honestly, I was curious to see how her work had come along in the 9 months or so since I last saw her.

And so, last Monday I found myself climbing some narrow, offensively carpeted steps above a shop, a short walk from Clapham Junction station, to have my portrait made in a studio converted out of a kitchen/diner area. And, as I stared at a serious piece of glass, hearing about her commission to go to Sri Lanka, while desperately trying to remember to keep my chin down, I came to the conclusion I had made the right decision.

And far from the only one to notice her talent. The Guardian ran a spread of her images recently.


The results? They are… pleasing.

Adam Tinworth - pensive mood

Adam Tinworth headshot

I’m busy rolling them out across my social presences – Facebook, Twitter, this site, Linkedin and Gravatar are done, and I’ll deal with others as I encounter them.

I’ve never really had a set of images I’ve been happy to send off for speaking gigs, or to go on course descriptions, or to accompany the occasion bits of writing elsewhere I do.

But now I do, and I’m very happy with them.

Thanks, Kristina.

One Man in your in-box

I’ve finally got around to restoring the link to get One Man & His Blog by e-mail. (It’s via MailChimp, so you get lots of control, and can unsub in seconds).

And if you’re thinking “hell, yes, sign me up!”, well, here’s the form:

Vale, Movable Type: a big move for this blog

If you’re reading this, I’ve pulled off a technical challenge I’ve been putting off for years – literally years – now. This blog is now running on WordPress, rather than Movable Type.

It’s not been an easy move – and I’ll outline the process in another post – but it’s now complete, and this site is living on a new host, running new software in the background. And I’m excited to get blogging with the new setup.

Here’s why I moved.

Movable Type: big in Japan

Movable Type, contrary to popular belief, is not dead. It’s alive, well and still being developed by Six Apart – which is now a Japanese company. However, in the English-language world it’s largely being targeted at the corporate and professional market, with a price tag to match:

Movable Type price

So, I’m not moving because it’s dead. But I am partially moving because I don’t want to pay more than ¬£300 every couple of years for a new version of the software. The advantages MT offers don’t outweigh the price difference between free and ¬£300.

The need to experiment

I’m also moving because my web host was getting more and more grumpy about me running it on their servers, and I came to the conclusion that if I was going to go to the bother of shifting hosts, I might as well shift platforms as well. Because, as alive as MT might be, it’s not well-supported. Try finding themes for it. Or new plugins. Or even other web services that support talking to its API. They’re becoming vanishingly rare.

Increasingly, being tied to MT was stopping me experimenting with new tools, and I don’t like that feeling. Part of the joy of blogging for me has always been in the experimental aspects of it – playing with new pieces of software, and figuring out how they might help me publish better. To keep that feeling, I needed to move on from the comfy familiarity of a blog platform I’d been using for over a decade.

Five years ago, much of my working life centered around MT. No more. I have no clients using it, and a whole bunch of them working on WordPress. I really need to understand it much more deeply than I do – which is why my most-used blog needs to be on it. If nothing else, that will force me to explore its quirks and advantages.

And I’m just one of many sites making the move.

My Ghost-ly future

That, incidentally, is why I’m on WordPress rather than the platform I suspect I’ll move to next – Ghost. Ghost is still very young, and needs some more development before I can switch. But I value this time getting to know WordPress, too.

So, there we are. New One Man & His Blog, living in WordPress and hosted on WPEngine.

What do you think?