The History of Blogging

It's hard to imagine that the history of blogging is so short when you consider the huge number of blogs on the Web. Blogs are everywhere, whether they are political blogs, news blogs, personal diary blogs, pop culture blogs or blogs about a particular hobby. They've become such a part of our culture that it's difficult to remember what life was like before so many people started blogging.

The First Blogger
While there is some debate over who started the very first blog, most sources point to Justin Hall, who, as a student at Swarthmore College, began an online diary in 1994. His Web site is considered by many to be the very first blog. Of course, at that time, the term "blog" had not yet been coined, but Justin's online diary did feature the daily, dated entries that we now associate with blogs. Around this time, several more Web sites of this nature began cropping up across the Internet in the form of frequently updated online journals, collections of links on various subjects and forums for personal opinion.

The First "Blog"
When did we actually start calling them "blogs"?  In 1997 early blogger Jorn Barger first used the term "web log" in reference to cataloging the Web via links on his site. Peter Merholz shortened that term to "blog" a couple of years later. During this time, creating Web sites and blogs was still primarily the business of tech-savvy folks. Web design software was not readily available, and so in order to create a Web site or blog, an understanding of HTML was a necessity.

The First Blog Sites
The world of blogging was opened up to the masses in 1999, when sites such as LiveJournal and Blogger were launched. These services offer free blog hosting and easy-to-use templates that made blogging accessible to anyone who had something to say. Would-be bloggers no longer needed to know HTML to create a blog; the simplicity of the sites required only the most basic of computer skills. Blogs began cropping up at a faster rate than ever, on every subject imaginable.

Gone are the days when there were just a few personal online journals. Blogging is now a way for people to connect, to share information and to let their beliefs and opinions be known. Blogs are created to promote businesses, to keep in touch with family and friends or for purely creative purposes. Blogs have been known to influence politics, create controversy and rewrite news headlines. Advertisers have helped some blogs become full-fledged publishing businesses.

As influential as the world of blogs and blogging has been, it is really still in its infancy. Only time will tell how blogs will continue to change and influence the Internet and society.

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