Blogging dates all the way back to 1994 when a college undergrad named Justin Hall created his site Links.net. According to Hall, he created the site so he could get his writing online. The site was very simple and contained a collection of links Justin found interesting while browsing the web, along with a couple of photos. Thanks to his site, however, he was dubbed the “founding father of personal bloggers.”

Pretty soon other weblogs started sprouting up. In their earliest days, webloggers stood as gatekeepers to the web’s ever-growing well of content. Each day, these URL pioneers would post a few new links and sprinkle in their own commentary. Blogs acted as a signpost for web users, and following a few key blogs was enough to keep track of just about everything new on the web. Many began to look at the blogging community as a brand new type of media, one that often stood far closer to an impartial truth than traditional mediums would allow for. It wasn’t long until there were even weblog sites focused on helping its visitors keep track of other weblog’s, such as Brigitte Eaton’s EatonWeb Portal. In the beginning, most bloggers hand coded their sites, adding a new HTML page to their server each time they had a new entry, or just updating the homepage to include the newest links. But soon enough, tools showed up to help bloggers with the process. The first ever to spring up was Pitas in early 1999, a do-it-yourself tool for users to build a blog with no HTML experience. Later that year, Metafilter was launched, which let users post weblog entries that were then published on the central Metafilter site. Both had the same user interface. Users could add a link, and some commentary for that link. The tools in 1999 reflected the spirit of the blogging community at that time.

These platforms made blogging open, in every sense of the word. Visitors were greeted with a single, open textarea on a free platform that was open to all to participate. Blogger brought in thousands of new users, many of whom were coming online for the very first time. Blogging became a way for web users to define themselves, and carve out a small nook in some corner of the Internet.

So Blogger became the platform choice for a lot of writers out there. It certainly was for Mena Trott, who used it when she first set up A Dollar Short. Trott was especially excited about the blogging communities’ turn toward the personal and the intimate. She filled A Dollar Short with illustrations and personal stories and tales from her past and present. She saw other bloggers as kindred spirits along for the ride. She observed that bloggers exchanged stories and tips like currency, and that the openness of the medium permeated to the ideology of its biggest advocates.

And that’s more or less the story of modern blogging. Though it is still exists today, Moveable Type was eventually subsumed by other platforms. But not before pushing the envelope for for several years after their licensing announcement, and launching the hugely popular hosted service Typepad.Blogging, as a community and a practice, continues to be refined to this day thanks to the dedication of web users everywhere. But its sharpest point was made the day Mena Trott decided that a blog could be more than just some text on a page. It could be one of a kind.

 

by: Ammara Siddique