Thursday, August 24, 2006

An Early History of Blogs

Rebecca Blood has been blogging for a long time - the archives on her site, Rebecca's Pocket, go back to April, 1999, which is the blogging equivalent of having taken up flying a few days after you first got word that the Wright Brothers had finally done it. She's also the author of The Weblog Handbook, one of the first, and by many accounts one of the best, guides for bloggers. I should order it. Do a Google search for "blog history" or "history of blogs" and you won't find much that is actually about the history of blogs. One thing you do find is her September, 2000 essay, "Weblogs: A History and Perspective."

It's surprisingly fresh, despite being six years old and despite how rapidly this medium is changing, and it's a quick but thoughtful rundown on the early steps that gave us the "blogospere" (I hate that word). I particularly like her thoughts on how blogging made her more aware of her own interests - coming up with new topics each day inevitably opens up new vistas. Those random thoughts that before came and went and were quikly forgotten, begin to take on focus after you‘ve written about them a few dozen times. And her final thought, about the value of blogs, gets at lot of what I'm interested in in terms of understanding blogs as a record of our times and as an extraordinary record of the thoughts of ordinary people (that is, people who are not Presidents or CEOs).

We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from "audience" to "public" and from "consumer" to "creator." Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.
I think that this is one of the ways future historians will understand blogs. We are being pummeled with even more data than we were in 2000, but with blogs, we have begun to talk back. For historians, it will be an embarrassment of riches. For us, it is, as Blood suggests, a small bit of sanity.


ariadne said...

Great blog! I'll be back.

CK1 West said...

Well, lookahere! Didn't know you were running around in Blogland. If we *ever* get around to updating ours again, we'll add your link. See you tomorrow!


Renegade Eye said...

I have personally changed opinions on topics, from learning from people's comments.

My blog is lefty, with conservative readers to ultra-left.

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