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Early bloggers | Blog movement begins | Blogging goes mainstream

Early bloggers

It was almost inevitable people would begin using the Web for weblogging. The Web's enormity needs some organization and filtering of useful and unuseful Web sites. Also, the Web is enticing to authors because it offers instantaneous publishing on the author's schedule. 1

Some people may be surprised to learn the term "weblog" was only coined in December 1997 by Jorn Barger, who maintains Robot Wisdom Weblog.

Peter Merholz began pronouncing weblog 'wee-blog' in 1999.  He maintains Peterme.com, shown here.  Image via Enarrative.org.

The shortened version, "blog," arose when Peter Merholz, who maintains Peterme.com, began pronouncing it "wee-blog" in 1999. 1

Then, Jesse James Garrett, who maintained Infosift weblog, compiled a list of "sites like his" and Cameron Barrett published the list on his Camworld weblog.

The first blogs were link-driven and provided opinions, commentary and information about Web sites they found while Web surfing. Most of the first bloggers were Web designers who had coding skills.

Blog movement begins

The blog movement accelerated quickly once free weblog-building software became available by Pitas, Blogger and Groksoup in the summer of 1999.

Also during the summer of 1999, the New York Times wrote an article on Lemonyellow, a blog about information architecture and theater.

By 2000, blogging was not limited to the Web wizards. New bloggers began to post personal information and descriptions of everyday activities - marking a shift from filter-style blogs to a journal-style blogs. 1

Many Web observers cite the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001 as part of the reason for the "blogosphere" explosion. Everyone wanted to have their opinion heard and share the best articles and information they found while Web surfing. 2

A recent Perseus blog survey revealed a 606 percent increase in blogs created from 2000 to 2001. 10

Past and projected hosted blog statistics.  Graph via Perseus - The Blogging Iceberg.

Blogging goes mainstream

The trend has yet to taper off. Blogging now receives mainstream media coverage and boasts celebrity and political bloggers.

Howard Dean and his campaign maintain Blog for America.  Image via Blog for America.

For example, 2004 Democratic presidential candidates Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and John Kerry maintain official blogs.The Washington Post even covered the new campaign craze. 6

As more cell phones come equipped with cameras and Internet access, moblogging is becoming popular. Moblogging is when bloggers use mobile devices to post photos, video and text to blogs. This can turn people who witness events into participatory journalists - posting video from their cell phones to their blog while still at the scene. 8

The Guardian Unlimited sponsors the Best British Blog Competition. Image via Guardian Unlimited.

United Kingdom bloggers can even enter the Guardian Unlimited's Best British Blog Competition and win an award for their blog. The 2002 winner, Scaryduck, won £1000. In 2003, bloggers can enter in five categories: Best Design, Best Specialist (which applies to any blog about a single topic), Best Under 18, Best Use of Photography and Best Written. The winners are announced in December.

Blogging will continue to grow and change, and it is clear that the blog has lasting power.

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