In the month of August 1999, the San Francisco company, Pyra Labs, made an internet-based service available to the public. The format was basically an online diary that was named after a contraction of the term ‘weblog’ first coined by the very hirsute anti-capitalist Jorn Barger in 1997. (The contracted name, ‘blog’ was coined in 1999 by Peter Merholz after he broke up the word ‘weblog’ to ‘we blog’ and gave birth to a full-blown verb.) Ten years later, there are only two types of computer-literate people in the world: people who blog and people who secretly blog.
Much ink has been spilled about the pros and cons of blogging. One of the earliest recognised bloggers (then called ‘journalers’), Justin Hall, started the practice while a student of Swarthmore College just to make notes and comments about his daily personal goings-on. A large bulk of modern bloggers are, therefore, ‘Halllites’. But the blog became a powerful tool when it became a quick platform for information-sharing during disasters — the first official news blog appearing in August 1998 when Jonathan Dube of The Charlotte Observer ‘chronicled’ Hurricane Bonnie. Closer home, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami showed the power of the blog.
But then, we do have bloggers galore who have made navel-gazing a full-blown keyboard activity. Like the write-up you’ve just finished reading perhaps?