For most of the millennial generation, blogs have always been around. But as with everything else, even blogging has its origin. Let’s take a step back into the ’90s and see where it all began.
The first blog is said to be created by Justin Hall back in 1994. Around this time, the word “blog” hadn’t been coined, so it was called a personal home page. Originally, these home pages were used to log in diary entries on the web. Thus, the word “weblog” was first coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom. In 1998, the first known blog on a traditional website was created by Jonathan Dube for The Charlotte Observer.
In 1999, “weblog” was shortened into “blog” by Peter Meholz. In 2004, the word officially made the Merriam-Webster dictionary, defined as “a website containing personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs.” Though blogs were a great source of information, the inclusion of opinions barred them from being credible academic resources.
Back then, there were no blogging platforms, so websites manually updated blogs. This was extremely difficult, unless you were a programmer who could build your own custom site. Soon enough, platforms like LiveJournal and Blogger went live in order to fill the niche. To this day, Blogger is still one of the most popular blogging platforms available.
By the 2000s, the number of blogs online skyrocketed in number. From twenty-three in 1999, there were fifty million by 2006, according to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere. Blogs were used by political candidates, such as Howard Dean and Wesley Clark. Topic-specific blogs also became popular. Current events, pop culture, and media commentary are only a few of the topics that many early blogs focused on.
Blogs such as Gizmodo, Boing Boing, and Gawker were launched during this period. Two more blogging platforms were launched in this period: Movable Type in 2001 and WordPress in 2003. Today, WordPress remains as one of the best and most reliable blogging platforms available.
Once blogs further succeeded, everyone wanted in on the success, and this created another popular type of blog, meta blogs. These blogs are dedicated to teaching its followers how to blog. A large portion of popular blogs today fall under this category.
Once blogging successfully established itself as something more than a passing fad, other websites offering blogging services.
Technorati is a blog-specific search engine which was launched in 2002. Audioblogger, the first major podcasting service, was launched in 2003. AdSense, launched in 2003, is an advertising platform which matches ads to blog content, allowing bloggers to make money from advertisements. Finally, although it was not intended for blogging purposes, YouTube paved the way for the popularization of “vlogs” (video blogs), even though the first ones were established before the site was launched.
Proofreading services, such as 1HourProofreading.Com, also became a vital tool for bloggers. These services allowed bloggers to have more polished and more consistent content.
Blogs cemented their place on the Internet by hitting the mainstream in the mid-2000s. Blogs slowly evolved into primary and credible sources of information on the Internet. Soon enough, academic guide books established guidelines for citing blogs in scholarly writing. Individuals started establishing themselves as experts of certain fields by creating blogs that are relevant and timely.
Moreover, mainstream media, big corporations, and even startup companies started using blogs as a marketing strategy. Blogs allow the public to share commentary and to get in touch with brands, which in turn provides companies with valuable feedback that they can use for the improvement of their products or services.
By the 2010s, blogging became a more serious endeavor, so many people started looking for a way to make blogs personal, informal, and fun again. This is where microblogging comes in.
As the name suggests, microblogging allows people to use a combination of media, such as minimal text, video, and images when creating blogs, and allows readers to comment on, repost, and/or “like” posts. This gives users both traditional blogging and social networking experience and allows real-time interaction between the poster and the reader.
Twitter is the first website to offer microblogging, limiting users to just 140 characters per post. Launched in 2007, Tumblr also became popular for microblogging in the 2010s. Another website known for the service is Posterous. The site allows users to submit content via an online editor or via e-mail and is known as a “lifestreaming” app.
What Could Be Next?
From its humble beginnings as online diaries, blogs have completely evolved into something entirely different. Blogs have become primary sources of information, marketing tools, and even social networks.
The latest innovation of blogging is crowdsourcing, the act of gathering information from the public. This is even more popularized by the website Quora. Medium, on the other hand, is a mobile-friendly blogging app, which fully combines traditional blogging with social networking. Writers publish content, which other writers can reply to with their own blog. Real-time social media apps, such as Snapchat, have no place in the blogosphere now, but the app has proven its worth as a tool for citizen journalism.
With all these innovations now, who knows what the future will bring?
Now that you know how blogging became an Internet sensation, maybe it’s time you try it out on your own! Watch out for more tips and tricks to come in our Blogging 101 series!
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