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Blog

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A blog (a truncation of the expression web log)[1] is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual[citation needed], occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject. More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other “microblogging” systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

The emergence and growth of blogs in the late 1990s coincided with the advent of web publishing tools that facilitated the posting of content by non-technical users. (Previously, a knowledge of such technologies as HTML and FTP had been required to publish content on the Web.)

A majority are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via GUI widgets on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.[2] In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking service. Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers.[3] There are high-readership blogs which do not allow comments, such as Daring Fireball.

Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photoblogs), videos (video blogs or “vlogs”), music (MP3 blogs), and audio (podcasts). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts. In education, blogs can be used as instructional resources. These blogs are referred to as edublogs.

On 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.[4] On 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr[5] and 75.8 million WordPress[6] blogs in existence worldwide. According to critics and other bloggers, Blogger is the most popular blogging service used today, however Blogger does not offer public statistics.[7][8] Technorati has 1.3 million blogs as of February 22, 2014[9]

 

History

Early example of a “diary” style blog consisting of text and images transmitted wirelessly in real time from a wearable computer with head-up display, 22 February 1995

The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger[10] on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog”, was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.[11][12][13] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used “blog” as both a noun and verb (“to blog”, meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”) and devised the term “blogger” in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.[14]

Origins

Before blogging became popular, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, commercial online services such as GEnie, BiX and the early CompuServe, e-mail lists[15] and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). In the 1990s, Internet forum software, created running conversations with “threads”. Threads are topical connections between messages on a virtual “corkboard“.

From 14 June 1993 Mosaic Communications Corporation maintained their “What’s New”[16] list of new websites, updated daily and archived monthly. The page was accessible by a special “What’s New” button in the Mosaic web browser.

The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. Most such writers called themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers. Justin Hall, who began personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, is generally recognized as one of the earlier bloggers,[17] as is Jerry Pournelle.[18] Dave Winer’s Scripting News is also credited with being one of the older and longer running weblogs.[19][20] The Australian Netguide magazine maintained the Daily Net News[21] on their web site from 1996. Daily Net News ran links and daily reviews of new websites, mostly in Australia. Another early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person’s personal life combining text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site in 1994. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance, and such journals were also used as evidence in legal matters.

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

Rise in popularity

After a slow start, blogging rapidly gained in popularity. Blog usage spread during 1999 and the years following, being further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted blog tools:

  • Bruce Ableson launched Open Diary in October 1998, which soon grew to thousands of online diaries. Open Diary innovated the reader comment, becoming the first blog community where readers could add comments to other writers’ blog entries.
  • Brad Fitzpatrick started LiveJournal in March 1999.
  • Andrew Smales created Pitas.com in July 1999 as an easier alternative to maintaining a “news page” on a Web site, followed by Diaryland in September 1999, focusing more on a personal diary community.[22]
  • Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan (Pyra Labs) launched Blogger.com in August 1999 (purchased by Google in February 2003)