Weekly #2: The First Blogger

It’s a tough question: who was the first blogger? After reading Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg, the answer has become clearer. I have discovered that crowning the first blogger is no easy task. What makes this particularly challenging is that thought leaders of the World Wide Web engaged differently online. Secondly, there is no universally agreed-upon definition of a blog.

In last week’s class, Garrett offered his insights on the subject and what he believes are the three necessary components of a blog. According to his definition, a blog must:

  • List posts in reverse chronological order;
  • Convey messages informally in a personal tone; and
  • Extend the conversation via comment boxes, permalinks and outgoing links.

The pioneers of the Internet set out to show the world its potential. They were adventurous and posted information online that interested them in a format they deemed appropriate. Early adopters included Dave Winer, Justin Hall and Ranjit Bhatnagar. In 1997, Jorn Borger coined the term “Web log,” which Peter Merholz later shortened  to “blog.”

We could certainly develop a list of the first “true” bloggers if we stuck with the narrow definition outlined above, but would have trouble determining who got to the plate first. However, I don’t understand the logic there. In doing so, we would discredit the work of the founders of this powerful platform.

The art of blogging has evolved overtime. The definition merely speaks to what we know blogs to be today. Stories of early bloggers reveal that they perfected their craft by exploring the Internet and learning from one another. Instead of singling out one particular person, let’s honor the people who played an important role in giving everybody the chance to “say everything” in this Web 2.0 world.


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