Origins of the blog

Before blogging ever even became popular, digital communities took many, many different forms, of these, Usenet was one of these, commercial online services such as GEnie, BiX and the early CompuServe, E – mail lists and Bulletin Board Systems(BBS) too. In the 1990’s, Internet forum software, created a new form: running conversations with “threads”. Threads are topical connections between messages on virtual “corkboard”.

From 14 June 1993 Mosaic Communications Corporation maintained their “What’s New” list of new websites, updated daily and archived monthly. This page was accessible by a special “What’s New” button in the Mosaic web browser.

Modern blogs evolved from the online diary, where people would just keep a running account of what happened in their personal lives. Most of these writers called themselves diarists, journalers, or journalists. Justin Hall began personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College. He’s generally recognized as one of the earlier bloggers, as is Jerry Pournelle. Dave Winer’s Scripting News is also credited with being one of the longer running or older weblogs. The Australian Netguide magazine maintained the Daily Net News on their web site since 1996. Daily Net News ran links and daily reviews of new websites, mostly in Australia but not solely. Another early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of someone’s personal life combining text, pictures, and videos transmitted live from a wearable computer and an EyeTap device straight to a web site in 1994. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance. Such journals were also used as evidence in legal matters.

Early blogs were manually updated components of common Web sites. The evolution of tools to help facilitate the production and the maintenance of Web articles posted in reverse chronological order made the publishing process feasible to a much larger and less technical population. Ultimately, this has resulted in the distinct class of online publishing that produces blogs we recognize today. For example, now the use of some sort of browser-based software is a typical aspect of “blogging”. Blogs can be hosted by on regular web hosting services, or they can be run using blog software, or dedicated blog hosting services.

Some early bloggers, such as “The Misanthropic Bitch”, who began in 1997, actually referred to their online presence as a zine, before the term blog became common.

Blogging rapidly gained in popularity. Blog usage spread during the years following 1998, it was further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted blogging tools:
Bruce Ableson launched Open Diary in 1998, which quickly grew to thousands of online diaries. The reader comment was innovated by Open Diary, becoming the first blog community where readers could add comments to the writers entry.

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