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Flashback Fridays: Five Years of Blog History

Aviator C

Age five in blog age is probably like 15 years in dog age or maybe like age 40 in Southwest years.  I’ve been around Nuts About Southwest for all five of those blog years, so on the eve of the debut of our new blog platform, I thought we could flashback through the history of this blog.

In late 2005, Angela Vargo, who is now in Marketing, asked me to be part of a communication group looking at the ramifications of developing a corporate blog.  Linda Rutherford, who was then Vice President of Public Relations, knew that folks were talking about Southwest online, and she wanted us to have our own blog home so we could enter the conversation.  Back then, only wide-eyed revolutionaries and the entire population of Silicon Valley had blogs.  We were one of the first Fortune 500 Companies to have a blog, and the blogosphere was very different then.  After the planning, I got drafted to work on the day to day publication of Nuts.  We put up our first post on April 21, 2006, and it was one I had written explaining why we were joining the conversation.  Then Angela and I waited for our first comment.  A few hours later, the first comment was on the moderation queue.  I opened up the comment to read our first reader thought.  With much anticipation, two words sprang forth.  The first was the same ancient Saxon verb that caused Ralphie so much trouble in A Christmas Story, and the second was a three-letter personal pronoun.  Thankfully, less vengeful, more appropriate comments soon followed. 

This was before FaceBook’s widespread use and the rise of twitter.  We had regular readers who would communicate with other readers in the comments section, often writing with little relationship to the topic of the post.  At least two of those early regulars are now Southwest Employees.  Our original Blog Team was kind of like Rock Stars, and they built a personal following of fans.  Soon Angela moved to Marketing, and Paula Berg became my blog partner.  Paula helped spearhead our “2.0” platform which carried us and our words and visuals from May 2008 until today.

During those five years, we have had some unique, even amazing blog posts.  The funniest one has to be from Bill Owen in Network Planning.  What would you do if you woke up to find a dead squirrel in your toilet?  Click here to see Bill’s solution.  Of course, this post doesn’t directly relate to Southwest, but Bill takes care of that with his authoritative posts about all things schedules.  Like all of Southwest Airlines, we LUV to celebrate holidays here at Nuts About Southwest.  One of the most moving posts we have published comes from Casey Welch on our Community Relations Team.  Click here and have some tissues handy.  And, how about the early post on bees that got picked up by The Wall Street Journal?  Click here to read Gordon Guillory’s report about how his Maintenance Coworkers solved the bee problem.

If you are “eat up” with the aviation bug like I am, reading Captain Ray Stark’s posts are just the ticket to get you up front on the flight deck.  Here’s a sample of one of his trip reports from 2007.  One of our earliest supporters was Colleen Barrett, and she was a semi-frequent poster.  Colleen used the blog upon the occasion of her announcing that she was stepping back from her role as President.  And our CEO, President, and Chairman, Gary Kelly has used the blog to post about serious issues, but equally well read are his posts seeking advice on his Halloween persona.  With Gary, Halloween is more than costumes, it’s acting.  This edition of Flashback Fridays marks our one-year anniversary.  The first Flashback Friday had photos of our early aircraft interiors and it debuted on January 15 last year

With two or three posts being published daily, we can only hit the very top of the highlights from the past five years.  This blog really has a life of its own, and I have been proud to be its caretaker for the past five years.  Like all of us, it has changed over that time period.  Paula has moved on to the mountains of Colorado, and Christi McNeill has led us through this newest social media revolution with twitter, Facebook, and geo-locating sites.  Many of our original Blog Team have moved onto new work areas or have experienced life changes which limit the time they can devote to blogging.  You’ve probably noticed another new name on the blog, and that is Brooks Thomas.  Brooks has impeccable taste in institutions of higher learning, and he’s done a lot of the heavy lifting in forming a new Blog Team who will continue to provide interesting, compelling, and timely content for you.  Our new Team is geographically and departmentally diverse, much like our original, Alumni Team.  Some of our originals will continue to be part of the new team—you never can tell when another dead mammal might cozy up in your toilet.  And I’ll be back here next week with another Flashback Friday.

Explorer C
Brian - thinking about all of those early memories brings tears to my eyes - the friends we made across the blogosphere, the crises (big and small), the missteps and successes, the courage of the first Southwest bloggers (like you, Bill, Gordon, and Carole), our sometimes heated debates , and every thing we learned along the way. I feel so luck to have been a part of it, and to have had the opportunity to work with such a smart, passionate, and well...ballsy group of people. Like we always said..."If only we could clone Brian Lusk!" Congratulations! And, enjoy #BlogCon 2011! -Paula Berg Once a Nut, Always a Nut p.s. A big shout out to Chris Ronan and team at RD2 for bringing the vision to life 🙂
Explorer C
Congratulations and thanks, Brian, Bill, Angela, Paula and other blog builders! Wow - five years have flown by.
Explorer C
Happy Blog Birthday Brian. I'm so glad you came onboard the blog bandwagon and stayed...there was never anyone better suited for the job. It's been amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch the blog and other social media channels bloom and grow (I feel a Sound of Music song coming on...). You and your team are definitely setting the standard for greatness in the social media space. I'm so glad I was there for a small part of it. Here's to another 5 years of dead squirrels, stinging insects, and perfectly timed space ship landings.
Explorer B
Brian, Happy 5th Birthday and also for a job will done with this blog from it's birth to where it is now. It has served many purposes thru these 5 years not only to inform but has also allowed folks to have a voice. Erin aka Duck Girl
Explorer A
So you're saying that Brooks is a fellow Mustang. Excellent! : )
Explorer A
Congratulations on five great years of blogging! I have been following it for a while, and read this blog basically every day! I have loved the variety of posts available on this blog, from items such as things that please us airline geeks (especially Flashback Fridays), to fun interesting reads every now and then! I especially love the new design of the blog from a few years ago, especially seing the flickr photos, and easy access to the most recent youtube video. I have loved reading all of the interesting posts on the blog (and even given the chance to do a guest post about DECA last year, that was really special, and thank you for giving me the opportunity) I look forward to reading more interesting posts over the next few years!
Aviator C
Paula and Angela, you two flatter me, and we shared some incredible, improbable memories. If ever there were two uncloneable people, it is you. You are visionaries, and I am so excited about Christi's and Brook's vision and energy for the blog. I've always said this is a living thing, and it needs to be nourished and challenged, and they are doing just that--and stay tuned Chris Ronan and the RD2 Team have outdone themselves. Erin, it is great to hear from you--hope all is well. Stuart thanks for the kind words. Stove, yes he is! Jazzy, hope all is well with your studies, and thanks for your support over the years.
Explorer A