Since I seem to be doing so much blogging of late, I thought about an article I wrote a couple of years ago called BLOG: HOT TREND OR TIME WASTER.
In this article, I traced the history of the blog. Today, it’s hard to imagine that some may not know what a blog is, but it’s true. There’s a big part of the world that still isn’t wired in, and doesn’t want to be.
If you know someone like that, and we probably all do whether it’s a grandparent or a coworker who shuns the cyber world, here’s a primer you can give them.
Blog, or Weblog for those who still may be unfamiliar with this online journal, falls under that “Good News-Bad News” heading.
The good news is that, used well, a weblog can be an effective business tool to promote your brand and foster name recognition and credibility as an expert. It’s a social tool for building online relationships and communities.
The bad news is that blogs can be addictive, as highly addictive as Free Cell, Solitaire, or Cubis. But far more entertaining.
Weblogs are defined as a web application which contains periodic posts on a common webpage. They’re usually posted in reverse chronological order with the newest at the top.
In the beginning, way back in the early nineties, they were labeled web log to avoid confusing them with a server log. Several internet sources cite Jorn Barger as the creator of the term weblog in December 1997. Dave Winer, who runs the Scripting News weblog, states that Tim Berners-Lee at Cerner Corporation, a particle physics laboratory, created the first weblog. (If you’re interested, the content of this site is archived at the World Wide Web Consortium.)
In February 1996 Dave Winer (link was http://newhome.weblogs.com/historyofweblogs but is no longer active) started his weblog as part of the 24 Hours of Democracy website.
In April, he added a news page for users of Frontier, a software program, and that page became Scripting News a year later. It’s still one of the longest-running weblogs on the Internet. Winer’s and Berners-Lee’s weblogs were like most of the early weblogs–political, business, or software related. The weblog began to mutate when people began using it as a personal vehicle for recording their thoughts, actions, and opinions. Weblogs became Personal Web Publishing Communities.
In 1999, Peter Merholz changed the word weblog and, for all practical purposes, changed society. Merholz, a founding partner of Adaptive Path, a user experience consulting company, has a blog that contains “Links, thoughts, and essays from Peter Merholz.”
In his entry Play With Your Words May 17, 2002, he told how he created the word blog, a phrase meaning “we blog” from weblog. “…it’s weird to experience how my love of words and wordplay has actually made an impact. Sometime in April or May of 1999 (I can’t say for sure when I exactly did it), I posted, in the sidebar of my homepage: ‘I’ve decided to pronounce the word “weblog” as wee’- blog. Or “blog” for short.’ I didn’t think much of it. I was just being silly, shifting the syllabic break one letter to the left. I started using the word in my posts, and some folks, when emailing me, would use it, too. I enjoyed it’s crudeness, it’s dissonance… As I wrote Keith Dawson after he added “blog” to Jargon Scout: ‘I like that it’s roughly onomatopoeic of vomiting. These sites (mine included!) tend to be a kind of information upchucking.’ Blog would have likely died a forgotten death had it not been for one thing: In August of 1999, Pyra Labs released (the software) Blogger. And with that, the use of Blog grew with the tool’s success.”
Blogs had been around since then, but around 2004, they seemed to explode. Everyone, and her dog, has a blog. Check out the blog of Jasper, a black Labrador, if you don’t believe me. And that’s just one of thousands of hits Google shows. There are cat, parrot, rabbit, etc. blogs.
If you can think of a subject, there’s probably a blog for it.