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Knowing Your Net History: How Blogging Became an Internet Behemoth

So what’s the deal with blogging anyway? And how did this obscure form of sharing personal stories become a phenomenon across the digital landscape?

Well, you might be surprised to learn how much of an impact one little “share” would have had, long before social networks as we know them today changed the face of the Internet, web writing practices, and marketing tactics.

Ever since the days of Usenet, before the Internet was even born, this first online message board categorized into newsgroups laid the groundwork for nearly all Internet content to come after. In fact, Usenet has grown and become a thriving network all it’s own, though you should use a Usenet service provider for access.

Today, there are an estimated 600 million or more blogs on the Internet. And in the United States, there are an estimated 31 million active bloggers. But where did this all start?

In this post, we’ll comb through a brief history of blogging and how the digital world has benefited from it. 


1994 - 1997

A little over a decade after the official birthday of the Internet on January 1st of 1983, a man named Justin Hall shared a few examples of HTML code that he came across from online sources in 1994.

His sharing of this information wasn’t observed as a “game changer” at all at the time. But he shared this information on, which he referred to as his personal homepage. 

Fast forward three years to 1997, and several other people had begun to follow Hall’s lead and started sharing small snippets about their lives online. One of these people was Jorn Barger, also known as the editor of Robot Wisdom. It was Barger who actually coined the term “weblog” to refer to the process of logging on to the web. 

1997 - 2003

As the term “weblog” sank into the collective vernacular of popular culture, other shifts began happening in online spaces. And most notably, in 1998, OpenDiary was launched, which allowed a community of bloggers to share and interact by offering the ability to comment on blog posts.

In 1999, the term “blog” was officially coined by Peter Morholz by simply shortening the name that Barger had given the action. But during the same year, the biggest shifts in the blogging space occurred, which is what truly popularized the art of blogging for the masses.

“Blogger “was then created as the first robust blogging platform by the duo Meg Hourihan and Evan Williams. And this simply opened up the door for anyone to publish online. Soon to follow would be LiveJournal and Xanga within the same year. 

But the game would finally be changed in 2003 when Google jumped into the field of play by creating its Adsense advertising platform. Soon after, in the same year, the most popular blogging platform in the world as of today, Wordpress, was launched. And it is believed that this was when blogging took on its live form that we know of today. 

2003 - Present

Within the past 20 years, the Internet has gone through a multitude of changes. But blogging has largely stayed the same. However, the way a blog is ranked is the key to finding success in the blog world today.

After YouTube was launched in 2005, many shifted from blogging to “vlogging,” but blogging, direct posting, and guest posting are still holding tight as now, videos can be incorporated into blogs, which also serve to drive SEO practices in the world of digital marketing.

Further, perhaps the most notable shifts occurred in 2011 when Google rearranged its algorithm for website ranking across the board. Instead of a basic ranking system, Google, being the most dominant search engine, began penalizing websites for irrelevant content, along with content without relevant links. 

And this has led us to today, where blogging still exists. However, blogging strategy is continuously changing to keep up with web algorithms.

Blogging will most likely continue to evolve. But the basic form of sharing personal stories with the world will remain its core function. Whether you choose to monetize your blog is up to you. But for many, blogging is simply a way to be heard in an ever-expanding digital society.

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