On The 8th Day, He Created The Blog…- A Short History of Online’s Most Influential Content Form

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FEBRUARY 2017

This magical platform we now know as a blog has transformed the way people communicate, think, read and even write.

Today, almost everyone reads one form of blog. Whether it’s a news blog, single topic blog, work-related blog, entertainment blog (music, television or movies), hobby blog – you name it, there’s a blog just about anything and everything! Ask anyone, your colleague or your son’s teacher, they all have at least one favorite blog. WordPress users proudly produce about 80 million new blogs each month with new ones being added each second. So what really is a blog? Most people you know probably can’t explain it.

 

How did this magical dream happen?

It wasn’t always this hectic and overwhelming. You could say blogging had a truly humble beginning. Although, it may seem entirely different today, its original purpose has stayed the same, and that is to convey a personal message.

The very first ones were mainly to chronicle a person’s life. Sort of like a digital diary. Simply put, it is logging chronologically, what goes on in one’s life and putting it up in the web. Hence the term web logging and inevitably getting shortened to weblog and finally, we have the blog.

So who started it all? Someone out there would definitely want to know and emulate this originator and blog genius. Sadly, for blog creation experts, it’s not that clear who it is.

It could be Swathmore College student Justin Hall who started publishing his first blog in 1994. He didn’t even call it a blog, but rather his “personal homepage.” His idea was simple, write a diary about everything in his life. Everything included the most intimate to the most embarrassing to the most bizarre.

It could also be IT geek and Robot Wisdom creator Jorn Bargee coined the term weblog. He described it as a log of his daily internet activity including a list of all the links he visited.

And the rest, they say is history.

But then again, who really cares who invented this wonder platform or how it all began. What’s important is that it is here; it has grown tremendously, and is not slowing down one bit.

Blogging, in its entire online (textual, audible and visual) splendor has transformed many lives and the online world as a whole. During the onset of the internet, websites were created as fixed beings after it gets published. They were made by programmers who knew how to manipulate what can be seen. The owner or author couldn’t even touch it without contacting the web manager.

But something magical happened. Enter the blog creation experts. Blogging transformed the boring website into a constantly updating online figure. From static to dynamic!

Power to the people

But since necessity is the mother of all invention, blogging software soon became the next big thing. People wanted to tell their stories without having to consult a programmer or ask the help from the web designer. Bloggers had the instant power to create their own concepts and put it online with the help of content management systems like WordPress or Blogger. It took away the heavy dependence on programmers and made it easier to concentrate on content creation.

This uncomplicated method of telling a story or sharing one’s knowledge attracted many budding experts, story-tellers, writers from all walks of life. Another breakthrough in the online world. These people wanted to try it out, like a hot fad that everybody wanted to be in on. And it worked! Soon, news channels, major media and Fortune 500 companies, “expert” moms, celebrities, every Tom, Dick and Harry all had blogs. News channels were able to put up instant news pictures and text, businesses were able to connect to their customers faster, experts were able to share their knowledge more conveniently. It became evident that blogging not only gave people the opportunity to express their feelings, experiences and thoughts but also impart this information faster.

The power of money

Alas, there will always be enterprising people who would see money-making opportunities from this emerging giant. This is another major step that changed the online world – monetizing blogs. With the thought of making money quite looming on the horizon, more people took bloggers and blogging seriously.

Bloggers were able to make money by having major brand sponsors be on their blogs and give free products in exchange for a good review or an endorsement. Thus was born the origins of the modern “unboxing.”

And so the number of bloggers skyrocketed tremendously because of this idea. Thanks to blog creation experts like Darren Rowse and John Chow who gave the secret on how to make money through blogging. (They made money, too!)

But not everything in the blogging world is all well and good. It seems to have a downside, too. While people saw a huge opportunity to express themselves, not everybody wants their trade secrets exposed. Heather Armstrong of Dooce blogged about her employer and was fired for it because of company privacy issues. Here we see another major impact that blogging has done to the online world.

Eventually, the number grew a figure that was too difficult to track. The rise of the blogs, microblogs, video blogs (vlogs) was evident. One thing was clear, major news sources, corporations and individuals have a blog, they were making money out of it, people were reading and getting engaged. The online world is abuzz with stories, news, videos and information.

What have we learned?

  • The power to publish is now in the hands of the simple web user. He can give his opinion, disseminate information or say just about anything and reach an audience he never dreamed of.
  • The ability to share and comment on blog posts by the readers are encouraged. Website owner thrive on comments and shares.
  • Small budget website owners can now have professional looking blogs. Because of these content management systems, beautiful and powerful websites can be made even without any coding knowledge.

Where does it go from here?

It’s difficult to say where blogging is headed. Will it ever peak? Or has it peaked already? If you look at your Facebook or Twitter feed, it’s hard not to see the many blogs that are being shared and commented.

As long as this popular platform continues to build a culture of people empowerment, enduring business relationships and continuous business growth, it looks like blogging will not go away anytime soon.

 

For more information on blogging, tune in next week as we are trying to answer this question: Is Blogging a Dying Business?

 

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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