Yesterday, July 3, marked the 10th anniversary of this blog, Bettnet.com. I began on July 3, 2001, 2 months before 9/11 and 6 months before the Church’s “9/11” of the big explosion of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.
The first six years of my blog were marked by lots of personal commentary and news analysis of that scandal, especially as it related to the Archdiocese of Boston, which gained for this site a loyal readership to whom I am still grateful. To this day, I still encounter people online and in person who tell me that they have enjoyed my writing over the years.
The past four years of the blog have been marked by a much lower frequency of posting and a marked change in content. With the advent of four children in five years and a new job working for the Church, it meant I could no longer write about the subjects and I had less time for it anyway. In addition, the rise of social networks like Twitter and Facebook have given me other outlets for writing and interacting with people online.
This blog has become more of a hub of my online presence, the “canonical” place where all my Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other content connects back to and originates from. I’ve also spent more time writing about my political views, about technology, and about my family.
This doesn’t mean I’m not involved in Catholic new media. I’m just doing so professionally. I’m really proud of our work at the Archdiocese. Last week, I was interviewed by the Boston Herald after Pope Benedict sent out a tweet for the launch of the new Vatican website News.va. I was able to tell them about much of what of what we’re doing at the Archdiocese in this area.
In addition, I’m heavily involved in our radio show, The Good Catholic Life, especially all the online components of the show: the website, the daily transcript, the podcast, the email to subscribers, the Facebook page, and so on. (Incidentally, I’ll be on the show today at 4pm (1060AM in Boston, live streaming at WQOM.org, or for download later at our website) talking about new media and the Church.
This summer, I’ll also be going to World Youth Day in Madrid with the Boston pilgrimage. Our office will be documenting the trip at www.wydmadridboston.com. We’ll be posting daily blog updates and real-time photos, video, and status updates from the field so that the families at home can follow along on the pilgrimage. We think we’ll providing unprecedented coverage of the pilgrimage, especially for an organization of our size.
The indisputable nature of the Internet is that it’s always changing. For example, today Facebook is the 1-ton gorilla of social networking. Yesterday, it was MySpace. Tomorrow, it could be Google Plus. And so this website, which as been around longer than of them(!)—I set up my first page in 1996—is still evolving. What it is today, will be different from what it will be tomorrow, just as it’s different from what it was 10 years ago.
I’m just looking forward—God willing—to what it will be on the blog’s 20th anniversary in 2021.