A short Timeline of the History of Running a blog

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Greetings, readers. Welcome to the HubSpot Marketing Blog.

We’re very happy to have you here. You may not realize it, but obtaining here was no simple task. Today, in 2016, I blog for a living, which is pretty great. Yet were it not for that long, twisty journey that got blogging to the current state, I might not have to get here. You might not be reading this.

We’ve found that there’s a significant history behind blogs. According to the documentation we uncovered — and will share with you below — they’ve been around since 1994 . These people looked a lot different in those days, and had many different names plus meanings.

Merriam Webster presently defines a blog as “a web site on which somebody writes about personal views, activities, and experiences. ” Remember that — it’s likely to come in handy later. But first, let’s talk about how we got right here.

The Blogging Vernacular

The first vocabulary and semantics close to blogging are more than a little muddy. As the practice developed, some of the more popular monikers were “weblog, ” “personal webpage, ” and “online diary. ” We’ll dive into each of these a bit as we explore the more primitive  days of blogging.

Now, we simply state “blog” — that’s a pretty popular term in our language. But what it means continues to change. Bloggers have dozens of systems and formats available (fun fact: HubSpot has a running a blog platform, too), and there is longer a standard for what a blog is supposed to look like.

And their former look and feel had been dictated by the language people  used to use to describe the act of blogging.   As you’ll see below, the term is primarily rooted in the idea of a log around the web . At one time, in fact , blogging was somewhat restrictive and limited to web-only subject matter.

Luckily, we’ve evolved and expanded how and why we weblog since then. One day, someone determined that we don’t have to stick to strictly technical topics when we put things on the Internet. (And thank goodness — remember that thing I said about blogging to get a living? )

So , a few see if we can better know how that all took place. Grab several popcorn — you’re in for a 22-year-long tale.

The History of Blogging

1994-1997: 1st blogs

1994-1997: First blogs timeline

There’s a little bit of debate around the first levels of blogging, much like the rest of its history — in the first half of the nineties, for example , there wasn’t a ton of online record-keeping, and most primitive blogs are either today archived or nowhere available.

Many of these original bloggers — despite not having yet earned that title — were the same people who first recognized the value of the World Wide Web in the eighties. One of them was then-Swarthmore-College undergrad, Justin Hall, who developed site called links. net in January 1994. It was essentially a review of HTML illustrations he came across from various online links, but it was enough for the New York Instances Magazine to dub him the “founding father of private bloggers”.

In that article, Corridor brought up the semantics associated with blogging, and how he was assigned many titles during his primary days on the internet (some of which are hilariously documented here).

“When We first started [blogging], they called it a private home page, ” he stated, “then they said I’m major Web diarists, and now Now i am one of the first Web bloggers. ”

That same year, Claudio Pinhanez (who today is really a Social Data Analytics Older Manager at IBM) started to log short entries in to what he called a good “Open Diary. ”

However it wasn’t until December 1997 that the term “weblog” had become. It was first used by Jorn Barger, creator of the website Robot Wisdom. He initiated the term to describe a “log” of his internet activity, much like Hall did in 1994, which largely amounted to a list of the links he visited.

That may have fixed the tone for the brand new era of blogging that will follow less than a year later on, when blogging-specific platforms started to debut.

1998-2001: More assets for bloggers

1998-2001: More resources for bloggers timeline

The later part of the nineties noticed an uprising in assets created just for bloggers. One of them, Open Diary, launched in October 1998 and became one of the most pivotal blogging systems — its name, was obviously a nod to its open, community approach to blogging, as Open Diary was the to begin its kind to have a membership model that allowed users of the community to discuss the work of others.

Open Diary circa 1999

Open Diary, c. 99. Source: Wayback Machine

In 1999 — although no one is quite sure specifically when — then-programmer Philip Merholz (who later went on to head up style at Groupon, OpenTable, plus Jawbone, among others) shortened the term “weblog” to “blog. ”

It was part of a period that displayed an influx of blogging opportunities, with each platform attempting to include its own unique set of features for a particular audience. It happened in 1999 alone, Blogger, (which would certainly go on to be acquired simply by Google), LiveJournal, and Xanga all launched.

Blogger circa 1999 Blogger, c. 1999. Resource: Wayback Machine

LiveJournal circa 1999

LiveJournal, c. 1999. Source: Wayback Machine

Xanga circa 2000

Xanga, d. 2000. Source: Wayback Device

Xanga (for whom Twitter co-founder Biz Stone once served as creative director) actually began as a social networking site — sometimes in comparison to MySpace — and didn’t add blogging features until 2000.

This period of time also saw some of the first rumored video blogs. In January 2000, a man named Adam Kontras accompanied a written article with a video that updated friends and family on what he has been doing. That November, professor Adrian Miles posted exactly what some speculate to be one of the first video blogs, as well, calling this a “vog. ”


“NO PETS ALLOWED. All of us smuggled him in. It had been awesome. Felt all undercover. ” Source: Adam Kontras

As the sun set at the nineties, blogging began to have quite an impact on a lot of lives. People were starting to figure out how to monetize their blogs — which we’ll get into in a bit — and the stage was set for businesses plus individuals alike to take bloggers seriously.

2002: A big 12 months for blogging

2002: A big year for blogging timeline

The first 2000s saw a few significant events within the blogging world. Technorati, one of the first blog search engines like google, launched in February 2002.

That month, blogger Heather B. Armstrong was terminated for writing about her colleagues on her personal blog, Dooce. com. While it’s not clear if she was the initial blogger to be terminated because of her personal website’s content, it sparked a conversation about the privacy and freedom of expression for blog owners.

The subject arose again within 2004, when Congressional guide and controversial blogger Jessica Cutler would experience the exact same fate as Armstrong. Cutler, however , blogged anonymously until her identity was uncovered by the website Wonkette.

The entire year 2002 also saw the particular dawn of “Mommy Bloggers, ” which largely consisted of mothers blogging about raising a child, aiming to create a sense of support and learning for readers. Melinda Roberts started TheMommyBlog. com — “one of the original mom weblogs, ” she writes — that April, creating a category that would continue to take surprise for over a decade.

The following month, Newsweek predicted that weblogs will replace traditional press and, rather in December of that year, it partially found fruition, when Talking Factors Memo broke the composed transcript of Trent Lott’s infamous call into “Larry King Live” — when Lott illustriously sang the praises of Strom Thurmond. Blog entries like these might serve as a precursor to live blogging, which took shape the following year.

In August, Blog Ads was launched simply by Pressflex LLC. Less than a 12 months later, Google would debut AdSense, which paired blogs with relevant advertisements (at the particular discretion of the blogger). Being able to advertise on blogs was a major milestone for bloggers, as it created the opportunity to profit from their work. It established the stage for blogs to be sponsored by major brands that fit their particular credos, or receive totally free products in exchange for endorsements or reviews. Blogging has been turning into a business — plus soon, a small population of bloggers would be using exactly what used to be a hobby as their main source of income.

The tumultuous Gawker — which New York Journal cited as the initiation of gossip blogs — also launched in December 2002, only to cease operations in August 2016 after a high-profile lawful battle.

2003: The momentum continues

2003: The momentum continues timeline

TypePad plus WordPress launched in 2003, continuing the trend of delivering platform options to a developing number of bloggers. That’s the same year that live blogging is estimated to have began — the Guardian has been one of the first outlets on record to make use of live blogging during the 2003 prime minister’s query time. The BBC refers to this blogging activity as “live text, ” and has frequently used it for sporting events.

WordPress circa 2005 WordPress, c. 2006. Source: Wayback Machine

TypePad circa 2003

TypePad, c. 2003. Supply: Wayback Machine

February the year 2003 also marked Google’s acquisition of Pyra Labs — the makers of Blogger. That was an indicator of the growing business of blogging, particularly in the wake of the monetization programs that launched the previous year.

The early 2000s showed the first signs of a rise in political blogs. In 2003, for example , a number of traditional media outlets were encouraging staff writers plus columnists to double since “cyberjournalists, ” as Shiny Welch called them in a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review . It reflected a growing number of political blog owners, with many seasoned reporters seeking to blogging for opinion plus beat outlets.

That climate primed the blogosphere regarding what would follow in the latter half of the decade, when the perspectives and studies of political bloggers began to be preferred sources of information on current events. The line between traditional media and the blogosphere would start to bend, since bloggers were fated to be members of the press.

2004 – 2005: Video and the press

2004-2005: Video and the press timeline

Despite the earliest video blogs being recorded in 2000, it wasn’t until the middle part of the decade that will visual content really got the opportunity to take root. Within February 2004, videographer Steve Garfield — who continued to be one of the Web’s very first video bloggers declared it to be the “year of the video blog. ”

As fate would have it, YouTube launched only a year later within February 2005, shortly thereafter inviting the public to add their own videos. But it was not always what people associate it with now — this actually began as a short-lived dating site, where public could use videos to present themselves and state their own romantic criteria.

YouTube circa 2005 Youtube . com, c. 2005. Source: Wayback Machine

But once YouTube turned its focus in order to general video uploads (which seemed to take effect simply by June 2005 according to Wayback Machine), it was part of a series of developments that showed the growing credibility of the on the web user. With ample resources already built for authors, developers were starting to deal with other content creators.

And it wasn’t just developers who have been lending credibility these online users. In March 2005, tumblr Garrett Graff was the initial to be granted White House press credentials.

That might have already been when the line between news reporting and blogging began to diminish, which some attribute to the launch of the Huffington Post that May. It started as what one case study named a “political forum” — and the Washington Submit called it a “group blog” in a 2007 profile — but is nowadays one of the highest-profile content aggregators.

Huffington Post is largely a mix of syndicated material and original articles from staffers, columnists, and unpaid bloggers. Visit the site, though, and you’ll land on a page of worldwide headlines, lending the visible impression that it’s a news outlet.

It comes because no surprise that one of Huffington Post ‘s co-founders, Jonah Peretti, went on to co-found BuzzFeed. Though BuzzFeed wouldn’t make reference to itself as a content aggregator — it instead recognizes as “a cross-platform, worldwide network for news plus entertainment” — it contains a similar vast range of content and, despite having an content staff, anyone can blog post to the site.

These newer platforms raised the question: “Is it a newspaper, or is it a blog? ” And as the 21st century progressed, the answer to that question wouldn’t become any clearer.

2006-2007: The rise of microblogging and rules

2006-2007: The rise of microblogging and rules timeline

The beginning of life in 140 figures (or less) began in March 2006, when Tweets co-founder and CEO Jack port Dorsey sent out the world’s first tweet.

It was the introduction of microblogging — sharing stories, news, along with other types of content in the littlest format possible.

Microblogging continuing to gain momentum in February 2007 with the launch of Tumblr — yet another running a blog platform that encouraged users to be brief. It was built, wrote former CNET reporter Josh Lowensohn, for those “who really feel they may not have enough content or time to write a complete blog, yet still want to compose and share links and mass media. ”

But with the introduction of short-form, real-time information sharing furthermore came increasingly visceral conversation. There would be countless mean tweets, as well as harmful comments left on blogs. It got to a point where, in Mar 2007, new media genius Tim O’Reilly proposed a Blogger’s Code of Carry out in response to threatening comments that the friend had received on her behalf blog. The rules were the following:

  1. Get responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you permit on your blog.
  2. Label your own tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take those conversation offline, and speak directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. Once you know someone who is behaving terribly, tell them so.
  7. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

It showed that the blogosphere had come a long way because the 1998 introduction of Open up Diary. Being able to comment on weblogs was becoming less of a novelty, and more a point of contention. Several years later — in 2013 — the Huffington Publish finally got a cue from rule #3 on the code associated with conduct, banning anonymous responses on its content and requiring commenters to link their feedback to a Facebook profile.

2008-2011: Blogging Dark Ages

2008-2011: Blogging Dark Ages timeline

During this period associated with four years, there were not many major events that propelled how or precisely why people blogged.

There were a couple of developments of note, nevertheless. In January 2009, the particular White House blog first showed.

Later that year, the particular film Julie & Julia premiered, which followed the success of one food blogger whose online work eventually became a book. It was one of the first pop cultural references to the expert success of bloggers, and stood to inspire others — by 2010, Technorati shared that 11% of bloggers reported earning their particular primary income from blogging.

Google also made several changes that would impact blog owners in 2011 with its rollout from the “Panda” algorithm change. Its purpose was to lower the rank of sites using what Moz called “thin content material, ” which hurt bloggers producing content that Search engines deemed to be of reduced quality. A lot of that revolved around bloggers having a lack of inbound links — a link to your website contained in another one. (My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, wrote more about that here. ) Without many sites linking to these blogs, Google’s algorithm would begin to translate them as less appropriate.

2012: Medium is started

2012: Medium is founded timeline

In August this year, a co-founder of Pyra Labs — the creators of Blogger — Evan Williams, created Medium: One of the newest blogging platforms.

Today, Medium is more than that. People can use it to publish and publish original content, like most other blogging platforms. But Medium is continuing to blur the line in between news reporting and running a blog. In fact , on its internet site, the company describes itself since serving up “daily news reimagined, straight from the people who are making and living it. ”

It was a notable intro of decentralized content: An idea that allows users to share their particular work that has been published somewhere else on a content creation platform. That’s different than sharing links on social media, for example , where limited content is displayed. Rather, the full text and pictures of the work are shared, with the original author plus source credited, on a site different from its origin.

It may sound kind of confusing plus pointless. But my friend, Sam Mallikarjunan, explains the benefits of doing something like that in his article, “Why Medium Works. ” In sum: Moderate has roughly three million viewers, all sharing and reading content. Does your weblog have that kind of achieve? If it doesn’t, you can reach Medium’s vast audience by syndicating your own content on the platform, drawing more attention to your work.

The same year that Medium launched, LinkedIn launched its Influencers program, which usually recruited notable business numbers to guest blog upon LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Ultimately, that platform became available to all LinkedIn members within 2014.

Though LinkedIn’s platform worked a bit differently compared to Medium’s — users can’t re-post full bodies associated with work in the same seamless way on the former — it can provide another outlet for people to share original content with an audience much larger than they might have received on their own domains.  

2017 saw the latest development of the blogging realm — the creators of Wp announced they would be moving out the. blog domain.  

Here’s the awesome thing about. blog — even though it was made by the creators of WordPress, \ to use the WordPress system in order to build a blog upon that domain.

“The domain registrations are open to anyone, ” wrote Adario Unusual of Mashable, “regardless of publishing platform. ”

Exactly what is Next?

I don’t know about you, but after diving into the history of blogging, I’m quite excited to see what its future looks like.

Of course , it most likely helps that blogging is my line of work. Yet I’m certainly not alone. Here at HubSpot, our content team has at least three full-time bloggers, and there are progressively more job titles that either indicate or include a running a blog as a major function.

It seems sensible, when you look at the state of blogging now. It’s a fundamental element of marketing and content strategy, and it has even shown to increase prospect flow up to 700% for a few businesses.

How blogging is constantly on the change will determine what our own careers look like, and I encourage all marketers — business or otherwise — to blog on behalf of their respective brands. It might seem like a lot of function, but if the evolution of running a blog has indicated nothing else, is actually that the sphere will only continue to expand.

And that’s something marketing experts should continue to pay attention to — not just the growth associated with blogging, but how many various interpretations of it exist. Just look at Facebook Live, Facebook Instant Articles, and Snapchat Stories against the context from the dictionary definition of a weblog from above: “a web site which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences. ”  Replace “writes about” with “shares, ” and you also could make the case that most associated with today’s content platforms — including social media networks — are their very own versions of blogs.

Want to learn more about the future of blogging and marketing as a whole? Check out the latest edition of our own State of Marketing report.

Editor’s note: This awesome article was originally published within September 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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