The early days of the social media-driven internet were a Wild West of sorts. Or, at least it seems that way to me, a late-ish adopter of these networking, and sometimes oversharing, technologies. Heck, I didn’t so much as own a smartphone until the tail end of 2013.
It was a simpler time, before everyone’s great aunt found their way to Facebook to share chain letters and cute animal videos. And long before most felt comfortable sharing their views on fraught political topics.
It was in this era, in 2005, that The Huffington Post launched its contributor platform. To a writer just beginning to dip her toes into the world of op-eds and such, it opened up an entirely new realm of opportunity.
Today, HuffPost announced that, sadly, the platform will be retired.
The Huffington Post was home to my first published opinion piece. I’ll never forget the pride I felt seeing my words up on that screen and how it felt to send that link on to my parents and friends. It was a big deal!
It was so exciting and felt democratizing to have a place where I could publish articles. The HuffPost provided an outlet for pieces that might be difficult to publish elsewhere due to their niche subject matter, such as those on the human rights implications of the World Bank’s lending portfolio, as was the case for my writing at the time.
Just like that, all of a sudden, I had views worth sharing, ideas about which other people wanted to read! It gave me confidence in my abilities as a writer and it lit a fire inside me to push myself a bit harder.
In fact, a couple of months after my first HuffPost op-ed, I landed a Letter to the Editor in The Washington Post. And my writing portfolio grew from there, as I went on to publish pieces in Foreign Policy and even the International Herald Tribune.
It wasn’t just me who found a voice at HuffPost. Over the years, thousands, if not millions shared their views on any number of topics, from politics to fitness to fashion and beyond. We were able to publish our opinion pieces alongside luminaries, presidential candidates, distinguished economists, and yes, even the occasional Hollywood star.
In their own words, The Huffington Post explained “The platform…was a revolutionary idea at the time: give a megaphone to lots of people ― some famous, some completely unknown ― to tell their stories.”
Like death and taxes, however, change is always lurking around the corner. Life in 2018 is undeniably different than what it was 2005, and our technology and means of sharing ideas have evolved as well.
Thus, it is with immense gratitude and a pang of sadness that I bid the HuffPost contributor platform a fond farewell. Thanks for the memories and, more importantly, the opportunities. You will be missed.
This post was written by Becky Harris Sullivan, a writer at Dragonfly Editorial.