If you want to go online and read a personal story, an article, or a humor column, you're in luck. There are millions of content creators around the world who post their work online. Many of them use blogs as their main platform. But how did blogging get started? And how did it grow into what it is today? In this guide, we'll answer these questions as we explore the history of blogging.

Where Did the Term "Blog" Come From?

Originally, personal stories posted online were called weblogs, meaning a record of events (log) posted on the Internet (web). In 1999, one popular weblogger broke the word into the phrase "we blog." He didn't think anything would come from this, but the word "blog" soon caught on and eventually became a commonly used term.

Name Blog Known for
Heather Armstrong Dooce Writing about her personal experiences, both online and in her books
Michael Arrington TechCrunch Covering news about tech startups in Silicon Valley
Yoyo Cao YoyoKulala Setting fashion trends and helping people learn how to dress well
Randall Monroe What If? Answering strange questions with real science and creating the webcomic xkcd
Lisa Stone BlogHer Creating opportunities for women to pursue higher education and successful careers

The Power of Blogging

More Information

A blog, or a weblog, is basically an online journal about a certain topic or theme that's typically maintained by a single person or a small group. Posts on these websites are usually presented in reverse chronological order, and most authors allow readers to leave comments for the sake of feedback and discussion. This form of media first became popular in the late 90s, but the concept originally evolved from early bulletin boards and forums.

Back in the early 90s and late 80s, people hosted their journals on digital communities such as Usenet and BBS. At the time, these were the most popular ways of sharing ideas and information with other people online.

In 1994, Justin Hall, a student of Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College, created a personal website called Links. There, he posted random stories about his life and the college he studied at. This is considered to be one of the very first blogs, and it's just a series of HTML pages that were manually updated by Hall.

The word "blog" is a shortened version of the term "weblog," which was coined by Jorn Barger, who was a very active user of Usenet in the early 90s. In 1997, he created a website called Robot Wisdom. There, he collected links to content that he found interesting, and he occasionally wrote about his opinions on politics and technology. According to him, he called his site a weblog because he used it as a way to keep a log of the pages he visited online.

One of the first online communities dedicated to blogging was Open Diary, which was a website launched in October 1998. It was the first of its kind that allowed people to leave comments on each other's entries.

In May 1999, a designer named Peter Merholz accidentally coined the term "blog." On his website, he announced that he'd start pronouncing "weblog" as "we blog." According to him, this was just a silly joke that he thought would eventually lose traction. A few months later, a company known as Pyra Labs launched a platform called Blogger, essentially popularizing the use of the word.

In that same year, sites such as LiveJournal, Pitas, and Xanga were launched. These gave users the ability to start their own blogs without having to learn how to create their own websites from scratch. As a result of this, more people became interested in blogging.

By the early 2000s, news outlets and politicians started blogging to reach out to the masses, slowly turning blogs into a mainstream form of media. In 2001, a company known as Six Apart launched the Movable Type software, which introduced the "trackback" feature. As a courtesy, bloggers can use trackbacks to acknowledge someone else's post while also notifying the author at the same time.

Two years after the release of Movable Type, more streamlined blogging platforms, such as WordPress and TypePad, were created. During this time, Google acquired Pyra Labs and launched the AdSense program, which allowed people to monetize their posts by displaying ads related to their content. This caused some writers to turn blogging into a full-time job.

By 2005, several news outlets, such as CNN and The Huffington Post, started considering some blogs as legitimate sources of information, occasionally partnering with them for content. During that year, vlogs, which are basically blogs in video form, also started rising in popularity because of YouTube's release.

In 2006 and 2007, sites such as Twitter and Tumblr introduced the concept of "microblogging," which is a form of blogging that encourages users to either keep their entries short or to use other forms of media, such as images and videos, to convey their ideas.

Over the next few years, old staples such as WordPress and Blogger continued to be the go-to platforms for both aspiring and experienced bloggers. Microblogging sites also became very popular due to the sudden influx of mobile devices.

The number of bloggers online increases at a steady rate every year. While it's safe to say that blogging won't go away any time soon, it remains to be seen if and how it will continue to evolve in the future.

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