The Evolution of the Blog: A Brief History

the-evolution-of-the-blog

The Evolution of the Blog: A Brief History

Children in the 21st century have grown up with “blogging” as part of their everyday vocabulary.

For them, blogs have always existed—Wikipedia has an article about it, Microsoft Word recognizes it as a legitimate word, and tossing around terms like “blogger” and “blogosphere” in casual conversation doesn’t elicit questions like it would have fifteen years ago.

Children of the 90s witnessed the beginning of the blog, and the generations of the new century are progressively more tech savvy and social media-oriented.

Where did all of this start? As a writer born before the blogging phenomenon was conceived, the evolution of the blog, social media, and online marketing has become a source of intense personal interest.

How does something as obscure as a “personal homepage” created by a college student in 1994 become an integral part of the online community?

1962: J.C.R. Licklider of MIT begins to play with the idea of a “Galactic Network” that would allow computers across the world to access the same data and programs: the birth of the internet.

1990: The World Wide Web is created by Tim Berners-Lee as the first internet browser.

1994: Blogging doesn’t begin (according to popular opinion) until Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore College, decides to create one of the first online diaries: link.net. Other blogs emerge slowly in this same time period, but Justin is widely regarded as a pioneer in the blogging community.

1997: In December, Jorn Barger names Justin’s online diary and others that follow “weblogs”, short for “logging the web”.

1999: Peter Merholz, a founder of Adaptive Path, shortens “weblog” to “blog” on his own personal blog, Peterme.com. Jesse James Garrett counts 23 total blogs on the internet. Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan from Pyra Labs create Blogger, and a series of more user-friendly blogging sites begins to emerge.

2000: Boing Boing hits the web and becomes a link directory. It wins “Best Blog” in both 2004 and 2005.

2002: The word “blog” is included in the Oxford English Dictionary.

2003: WordPress is created. It will become the most used blogging software.

2004: The “year of the video blog”.

2005: The video blog is closely followed by the launch of YouTube.

2006: From humble beginnings in 1999, the blog count reaches 50 million.

2007: The creation of Tumblr, a tumblog that combines the social networking of twitter with a more traditional blogging experience. By October 2013, it grows to host 146 million blogs.

2010: Blog count on the web reaches 125 million.

2011: Google+ hits the web. Implementation of Google authorship will be a major point for blogs. Some bloggers consider giving up their blogs and blog on Google Plus instead.

2012: Blogging becomes increasingly intertwined with social media. Responsive web design is getting popular as more and more users are accessing the web via mobile. Also, more bloggers are using external commenting systems for better social media integration.

2013: Following Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates Content Marketing gets a boost and many businesses are adding blogging to their marketing mix. In 2 opposing trends there's a huge increase in micro blogging with images and super short videos, while many text based bloggers write increasingly longer blog posts.

Blogging Today

Blogs began back in the 90s as online journals that were few and far between.

They became mainstream mid-2000s and are now used for journaling, networking, social media, marketing, advertising, news sources, and a host of other purposes. There are video blogs, podcasts, microblogging, automated blogs, SEO blogs, and personal blogs that are only read by close family and friends.

People blog for educational, personal, and business purposes. Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, and Blogger are all descendants of that first blog post in 1994.

One significant change in the evolution of the blog is the shift from online personal journal entries to becoming a major player in online marketing campaigns. In the age of the internet, bloggers post links to websites that promote products and services for their readers to browse. Companies use methods like pay per click advertising that only charges advertisers every time their ad is clicked, focused keywords to specific audiences, and hiring SEO companies to promote their name on the web.

Promoting services and products online is the new way to reach the wider world, and blogging has become perhaps irretrievably linked with marketing. Blogging is so popular and integral in the marketing world that many companies now create “fake” blogs simply geared towards promoting their products.

Blogging in the Future

The Evolution of the Blog: A Brief HistoryWhere will blogging go next? It has been almost two decades since that first blog post from a college student at Swarthmore College, and the blog continues to evolve. “Vlogs” and podcasts have slowly risen in popularity, with more people choosing to use multimedia to inform and entertain their audiences.

Personal blogs are free, easy to create, and readily accessible from a number of sources (a far cry from the days when you had to know html and coding to write your own blog).

People can now make a living as professional bloggers.

In 1994, no one could have predicted where the blogosphere would be in twenty years.

The same is likely true of blogging today—in twenty years we will be in a very different place than we are now. The only thing we can know for sure is that it will have evolved. After all, the only true constant is change. And that statement is never more true than when technology and multimedia are involved.

Category: Blogging For Money |