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Blogging Is 10 Years Old 108

Several readers sent us notice of an article in the Wall Street Journal in advance of the tenth anniversary of the blog (by some definitions and accounts). The Ur-blogger in this version of history was Jorn Barger and the blog was Robot Wisdom. Barger wrote, "I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff." The Journal article has statements from a baker's dozen of bloggers and/or blogwatchers and a handful of videos of bloggers talking about how and why they do what they do.
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Blogging Is 10 Years Old

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:56PM (#19869431)
    10 is also the mental age of people who blog.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:59PM (#19869471)
      I make a dash to the Slash to the D-O-T Coz them news for nerds makes sense to me So let this serve as a warning to the spammers and trolls You may have a fat pipe but you ain't got bawls. There's a new manifesto by ESR And the stats of the watts of a hybrid car I gots love for Perens and miguel, et al And I voted CowboyNeal on the Slashdot Poll I'm Microsoft bashin' like every single day Coz the OS got holes and Exploder's teh gay Now SCO's talkin' trash so I give firefox a ride To reply as a Coward so I can hate on McBride I will flame you with language I won't say to your face And I bet you can't guess who gots all your base There's one way to know if your server is rotting Just post a link and you'll get a slashdotting You can mod me down coz I'm a karma whore And I'm a decorated veteran of a recent flame war Where they fought about an app with a K or a G And a heated debate on what was meant by "Free" As a slashbot, when Linux receives a threat, My palms begin to sweat and my evil bit is set You best believe I'll be posting a rant And I'll be surfin' Slashdot 'til my mom says I can't.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nor does anybody else.
    • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:03PM (#19869505)
      Depends on the kind of blog. A personal feelings blog, akin to most Live Journals/My Space/etc? I agree. Technical blogs, e.g., programming techniques/tips? Those are better, but aren't really blogs. They just allow someone to easily post information without organizing it into website.
      • What about news blogs? Porn blogs? Slashdot? Economics blogs? Philosophy blogs? Blogs intended to keep your friends up to date on your life? There are lots of blogs that serve different purposes to different audiences.
      • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )
        Depends on the kind of blog. A personal feelings blog, akin to most Live Journals/My Space/etc? I agree.

        What's a "personal feelings" blog? Do you simply mean "personal" blog? I'm not sure how you can sum up all personal blogs/journals/etc.

        I actually find the stand-alone political and technical blogs, where people think they are posting insightful material to the world, but actually hardly anyone ever reads them, to be the sign of immaturity. Indeed it's ironic that the so-called "personal" blogs often get a
      • Technical blogs, e.g., programming techniques/tips? Those are better, but aren't really blogs. They just allow someone to easily post information without organizing it into website.

        Your last sentence pretty much defines what a blog is. So how are they not "really blogs"?
    • I mean, the guy claims to have invented everything else, right?
    • Those who can blog, blog. Those who can't post to Slashdot.
    • by saskboy ( 600063 )
      I'm afraid I must confirm your theory. I've been ten for over ten years now. And I've been blogging for 5 of those years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:58PM (#19869461)
    We all know Dr. Doogie Howser, MD, invented blogging back in 1989.
  • by Winckle ( 870180 ) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:03PM (#19869499) Homepage
    "Maintained by Jorn Barger ( Last updated: Aug99"
  • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:05PM (#19869515) Journal
    ... much more than 10 years old.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Yup. First thing that could be likened to a blog was the usenet group mod.ber, which was a guy's one-man newsgroup which he used as a blog. That was like, mid '80s.
      • by porl ( 932021 )
        what about the old .plan files? isn't a 'blog' essentially a html version of these?
  • Sounds about right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zaren ( 204877 ) <> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:11PM (#19869567) Homepage Journal
    My son is 10 years old. I kept a series of web pages up while my wife was she was pregnant with him that were pretty reminiscent of today's blogs - quick little entries about things that happened, complete with little indicator icons about what kind of entry it was, like the "mood" icons that they use now. Sadly, the Internet Archive never made copies of my pages; all I have is hard copies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      So the first blog was really this?:

      April 4 - My son barfed on the curtains :-(

      April 7 - My son said "daddy" for the first time :-)

      May 2 - My wife forced me to change Billy's diapers. Ohhh, they stunk to high hell :-(

      May 4 - Little Billy uttered a bunch of strange sounds, something like, "glergg zhlagg blog". Thus, I will name this website "blog", in honor of his utterances. I hope it catches on.
  • Not quite the first (Score:5, Informative)

    by nemerrle ( 1128473 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:15PM (#19869595)
    Umm, Steve Jackson (of GURPS fame) has had a daily blog since December 1994: []
  • was publishing almost-daily since 1995. []

  • Nothing says, "Thanks for inventing blogging!" like taking down your server with a hearty slashdotting.
  • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:36PM (#19869759) Journal
    at least according to their definition.

    Online diaries [] are several years older.

  • Now all we need is Dr. Sam Beckett to step into the Quantum Leap accelerator, and set right what once went wrong.
  • Slashdot is not so much a news site as a collective blog, IMO.
  • I wrote myself a Perl script to "blog" back in 1995. Cause it was easier to update a website...
  • Blogging is not some new concept invented back in 1997. I am pretty sure a great many people kept journals long before that. Blogging is not a unique concept, its simply one of the oldest concepts applied to HTML rather than pen and paper. In this matter the buzz word blog and ever possible tense there of are nothing more than keeping a journal and using HTML rather than Pen and Paper to do it.
  • Blogging is 10 years old? WTF?

    Someone should smack the crap out of the idiot who made that claim. That, and never let him write another 'article' again.

    The only way blogging could be 10 years old is if "Blogging" is a kid that was born 10 years ago.

    *sigh* I wonder what real articles the SlashDot editors passed up for this story on a bullsh*t claim.
    • If you check the Firehose you can find all the articles you could ever want to get your grubby little hands on.
  • I've been reading Jerry Pournelle since around 1995. []
  • mmm not really (Score:4, Informative)

    by azav ( 469988 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @04:19PM (#19870117) Homepage Journal
    Check out the .plan files by American McGee and John Carmack and the other guys who were at Id in the mid 90's.

    They are at least one case of blogging before the reported originator.

    Carmack wrote about "Stupid Testarossa Adventures" in addition to the ongoings at Id. American wrote about "Stupid Contests I Get People to Do" in addition to the ongogings at Id. Others "blogged" too. Tastefully or not. Steed wrote about his stripper inspired 3d models. Cash wrote something too. Brian Hook was there writing as well, in addition to others I have forgotten.

    This all was documented at BluesNews.con where you could read their plan files on a daily basis.
  • by vitaflo ( 20507 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @04:32PM (#19870213) Homepage
    I'm sure the *term* blog is probably 10 years old, but the idea goes back further than 10 years for sure. I know myself and others who had dated "posts" on topics dating back to '95. They were mostly links and items and opinions about a specific topic. Back then they were just generally called "news", "notes" or "thoughts" but it was not much different from any tech blog you would see today. I'm quite sure there were others who go back even further than this. The idea isn't inherently new or creative, it's just the term that was given to them that was.

    Then again it all depends on what you really consider a "blog". Some people consider web logs and blogs to be different things (which may also be different from a journal, or a news site, etc). So the entire idea of pinpointing a "start" to it is sort of silly, given how similar they all tend to be.
    • by gaffle ( 1126429 )
      I would say that blogs started when software interfaces that made it extremely easy for (non-technical-at-all-whatsoever) people to post serialized news were developed. The actual content, purpose, etc, of a 'blog' has existed since the old BBSes as far as I'm concerned.
  • Seriously, check it out: July 31st, 1996: []. and the day before yesterday: []
  • And it will be legal.
  • OK, Web logs don't predate the web but the concept of an online journal does.

    I imagine the first such use was probably back in the '60s, maybe older.

    Paper public diaries are probably as old as paper, and "what I did today" fireside chats are probably as old as fire.
  • History of blogging (Score:3, Informative)

    by btempleton ( 149110 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @04:51PM (#19870367) Homepage
    Well, of course it all depends on definition. Most definitions of weblog require the web, but people seem to have forgotten that when Tim Berners-Lee defined the "web" he did it as a network of protocols, including http and html (which he developed) but also gopher, usenet, ftp and others. URLs were meant to tie them all together.

    This puts the blog much further back in time. I personally believe the credit for first blog goes to mod.ber, a moderated newsgroup from 1983 that was effectively similar to boing boing today. Brian E Redman (after whom the group was named) and friends found interesting threads out on the net and posted pointers to them in mod.ber

    Most blog definitions also require it be serial. There is some debate as to whether the people who kept running commentaries in their .plan file under finger might have a claim on being an earlier blog.

    It's possible that my own rec.humor.funny/ may be the longest still-running blog. It is 20 years in two weeks. It is serial, started on the pre-HTML web and like other blogs, has a solo editorial voice.

    Some of this history can be found at Wikipedia's blog page [] and I wrote about RHF's history as the oldest blog [] with pointers to other contenders.
    • Right on, the blog is more than 10 years old by a long shot, it's just its frame of existence has evolved. By rights you could say world war is little over 90 years old, but the definition of the world has changed a lot in the past millenia. It's a bad analogy, but I think it gets my point across. The only reason to claim blogging is only 10 years old is if you started blogging more than five years ago and want to sound like you were closer to the founding of blogging than if it started in the 80s. I th
    • by jg21 ( 677801 ) *
      Brad Templeton's contributions as outlined here are now part of an article in Social Computing Magazine, "Did Blogging First Start in 1997, 1994...or 1983?" []. Thanks to Brad and to Slashdot for setting the record straight!
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:26PM (#19870633)
    because that would have ment that nobody would be able to blog.
  • by Archeopteryx ( 4648 ) <benburch&pobox,com> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:32PM (#19870685) Homepage
    The WELL, or Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link was a forum were people were doing what we would now call blogging but LONG before the WWW existed.
    • not just WELL, but also here in the UK at least) text talkers/BBS such as CheesePlants House (1990), Olajier (1991) and of course most ended up on Monochrome BBS [] which is still running today and has active user accounts that are over 16 years old. The latter has had diaries (allbeit, not web-logs) for all users since near the beginning.

      one thing about the text BBS's - they are so much faster and easier to use than modern forum websites...


  • Blogging is at least 11 years old! I used to blog about the impending Apple/Next merger back in '96, posting every few days with whatever new angle was in the news.

    I'm certain there was somebody doing it even earlier than that.

  • I had a fairly successful, Slashdot-style blog (and forum) with around 10K unique daily visitors (and growing). I closed it in 2001 - lost interest. I believe that with a few exceptions the blog fad will blow over. Sooner or later you just run out of interesting things to say and start regurgitating bullshit from other blogs. Then you start regurgitating the regurgitations from other blogs. It becomes sort of like making sausage - you put all sorts of crap in and hope it will "sell".
  • Well before the sites mentioned in the WSJ article, the folks at UIUC NCSA [] (who begat Mosaic, from which sprung Netscape, Mozilla, and Firefox), had a What's New [] site that did what indexed the best of the web (which the article describes as the orignin of blogging), but UIUC started doing it in 1993 - that's even before Yahoo.

    The NCSA What's New index does not seem to be archived any longer at UIUC, but rather at Netscape. That's puzzling to me, since I think it's an absolutely essential part of the hi

  • Steve Jackson, of Steve Jackson Games, (best known for Car Wars and GURPS), has been running something that pretty closely resembles a blog since at least November 1994 []. That has this guy beat by 2 years at least.
  • ... using simple HTML and Notepad on a Web page inside my generous 10MB of personal Web space alloted with my dial-up Netcom account. It definitely qualified as a blog, it was linear and every entry was dated. Things like dynamic HTML and CM systems were still foreign terms, and those personal webpages allowed no scripting, so it was pretty crude stuff, but still a blog! I still have that old site archived... should hang it up for fun one of these days.
  • To contribute to the blogging community, I've setup [] The epidemy of the social networking and blogging world!
  • The article states:

    On Dec. 23, 1997, on his site, Robot Wisdom, Mr. Barger wrote: "I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily basis," and the Oxford English Dictionary regards this as the primordial root of the word "weblog."

    There's at least one well known blog predating that; James Lileks started the Bleat in February 1997.
  • FWIW, Duncan Riley [] cites Justin Hall as the first regular blogger with a start date of Jan. 1996. The disagreemnent about the first blogger will probably continue, but between Riley's documentation and the other examples cited here, it's clear that Barger was not the first and the Wall Street Journal did almost no research on the story. It's idiotic, since they could be certain the story would be fact-checked quickly by the blogosphere.
  • Blog: Idiot-proof WYSIWYG toolset for those incapable of usng HTML, FTP and other standard web technologies.

    ie: Morons invaded the web approximately 10 years ago.

    • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )
      Blog: Idiot-proof WYSIWYG toolset for those incapable of usng HTML, FTP and other standard web technologies.

      ie: Morons invaded the web approximately 10 years ago.

      So you're a moron if you use existing tools rather than reinventing the wheel yourself?

      Even those of us who can FTP and build our own webpage still find it immensely easier to use existing blog software.

      I do hope you're reading Slashdot through telnet (preferably a telnet application you wrote yourself in machine code...)
  • BBS's back in the 80's had threaded discussion topics. They didn't call them blogs, but I don't see how they were in principle any different than blogs. (aside from being direct-dial based vs on the internet)

    And surely someone had a TurboGopher or ARPAnet "site" that posted the latest news?

    Or does "blog" mean something more than "shared journal"?
  • I call bullshit! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by billcopc ( 196330 )
    I'm absolutely certain (without proof) that the act of blogging predates these hypocrites!

    The difference is that back in the day, you had to be well-versed in the technology to pull it off. You couldn't just download Wordpress, wear a yuppie shirt and call yourself a genius back then, you had to write your own scripts/software, or do it by hand with HTML and a whole lot of patience.

    I know I was doing it, with a randy assortment of little management apps and batch files (I was a DOS geek at the time). My d
  • John Carmack used finger to blog way back when. Before that, we used news to do stuff like what Twitter does today.

    I kept an online diary older than this "date". Was it called a blog? No, it was collected ramblings, pretty much the same as today. Was it a blog? I have not really changed since I started writing my occasional entries in ~ 95 or so, so yes, it's blogging.

  • here [], though a little bit before found it as shown in the link. Unfortunately, a domain scammer went in and grabbed it just as it expired and I lost my first domain name.
  • ..earlier. Have written to the WSJ to ensure they get to know this as I can prove it.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.