Jeremy Pepper is celebrating nine years of writing on his blog and talking about how he’s seen the landscape change over those years:

I’ve seen the “popular” bloggers in public relations turn to social media advocates, and then fall to the side of less importance because they, well, never stuck out their necks on issues or just followed trends. I see the new group of SM bloggers that have risen to the top – some are cream, some are artificial, powdered cream – and while the cream is imparting wisdom, the powdered kind is glomming onto hot topics and rehashing others’ posts, with no original content or thinking.

I’ve also seen the original group of PR bloggers just say fuck-it-all and give up on PR and SM blogging, and start following their other passions. And, well, most of the time I don’t blame them. That small group was relatively close, meaning we’d talk and share ideas and information and while somewhat competitive, were a community. Yah, that’s pretty much gone nowadays except with a few good people. But that is how media works, and at the end of the day, blogging and social media are … just media.

My own earliest online exploits have been lost to the ages, largely because in the early days I’d sometimes get a twitch and decide that the contents of wherever I was writing were garbage and I needed to start again with a clean slate. I know I don’t beat Pepper’s nine years but even if I’m just counting Movie Marketing Madness then I’m well past eight years of being online, with MMM starting in May of 2004.

Aside from that I can’t disagree with Pepper’s overview of how things have changed in that time. Not only are the conversations different – there are far fewer constructive conversations and more rushing to be the first person to yell “FAIL” – but the way people are having them has fundamentally changed.

One of the biggest differences is that links to other writers used to be given out freely and with a sense of excitement, like the writer knew that by linking out from their own site they were not only encouraging people to check out another good point of view but also gaining some good karma at the same time. Now too many people only link back to their own previous posts on a topic (something that’s easy to do since there’s far too little original thinking going on) as if we’re supposed to think that their seven previous posts somehow prove the veracity of the current one.

As for myself? I continue to flounder to some extent in what I’m trying to say. I’m not the angry voice in the wilderness that Pepper is. I’m not the wise professor that some people are. I’m not the hip dad with a unique point of view that others are. I’m me. CT.WP will, most likely, continue to be a mix of serious stuff about PR, social media and the industry I work in, the Cubs, movies and music I’m enjoying or looking forward to and a bit more.

My hope is that when I do take an opinion on something, whatever it is, that I do so in a respectful yet forceful manner. I always try to call BS in the nicest possible way since I know that, whatever I might think of something, there was an individual or group of individuals on the other side of that who thought they were doing a good job. More often it’s the reaction to something that’s the bigger failure than whatever happened in the first place and the last thing I want to do is pile on someone’s bad day or come back a year from now regretting whatever I might have said.

In short, I try to leave the internet in a little better condition than I found it. Here’s to 8+ years of doing more of the same.