A Blog About Blogs

An undergraduate thesis about blogging, public relations, marketing and social media

History and Evolution of Blogging September 10, 2008

Filed under: Blogs — Stephanie Sheppard @ 6:59 am

Although (according to NPR) blogging has been around since 1994 when Claudio Pinhanez of MIT started publishing his “Open Diary” and Justin Hall created his “personal homepage” logging his daily activities, it’s really only taken off in recent years – especially business blogging.

Jason Berger, often credited for authoring the first blog, started posting interesting Web links in reverse chronological order in December of 1997. He coined the term “Web log,” which has now become just “blog.”

Blogging first became popular as personal diaries. Open Diary, created in 1998, was one of the first tools that made it easy for the average person to start blogging about their thoughts, feelings and whatever else they felt like sharing. Other journaling tools followed soon after such as LiveJournal and Xanga. Everyone who was anyone had a LiveJournal in middle school and high school – so obviously I did, too. Why I thought anyone would care that I was mad at Sarah for not inviting me to her birthday party, I could not tell you. But that’s the kind of lame stuff that caught on quickly. As if high school didn’t already have enough drama, now you could call people out and spread rumors on the Web for all to see.

In 2002, Technorati – a blog search engine – launched, making it possible to track and search blogs. Since then, blogging has skyrocketed. Today, Technorati reports tracking 112.8 million blogs. And now they can add one more to the list.

As far as business blogging goes, Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos’ book Blogging for Business marks May 2, 2005 as a landmark date. BusinessWeek did a cover story that explored the business consequences and opportunities associated with blogs. Because it was one of the first serious articles in a serious business publication about blogs, people really started to take notice. Since then, many major corporations are seeing the value of blogging. More and more companies are entering the conversation – but there’s a long way to go.

In addition to the inevitable expansion and growth of blogging, new media channels are becoming available. Podcasts, video blogs (vlogs) and other forms of social media are taking off. Business are slowly but surely realize that they need to adapt or become outdated. As an intern in Allstate Insurance Company’s Southwest Region corporate relations department, I’ve seen the company struggle to incorporate new media into their public relations plans. Blogs are here to stay, and certainly aren’t just a fad.


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