The first blog post was written in 1998 by Jorn Barger and is called “A Blog of One’s Own.” The idea of a blog post has been around since the 1960s when people like Ted Nelson coined the term. A timeline would be incomplete without mentioning that blogs were originally used to publish content on behalf of an organization, instead of for personal use.
Jared Spool from User Interface Engineering wrote one of the most popular posts in 1999 titled “Blogging Do’s & Don’ts.” A lot has changed for blogging over time, but some things never change: having a voice and being unique are important for bloggers now as they were then!
The Early Years
1994: First blog created by Justin Hall on Links.net
Hall created the first blog at Links.net, which he called A Blog of One’s Own. It contained essentially a review of HTML examples and various Web and personal projects. A year later, Hall created the first blog with no HTML code that was written by a computer program and displayed in a browser window as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).
1997: “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger
Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” in 1997, and it stuck. A “weblog” is a journal of sorts that allows the writer to include links and other types of content in addition to regular text posts.
1998: Open Diary was launched
Open Diary introduced a community approach to blogging. A blog was no longer just a personal journal but could include writings from multiple authors.
1999: Peter Morholz shortened “weblog” to “blog”
Morholz later headed up design at Groupon and OpenTable, and he changed the spelling of “weblog” to “blog.” A blog would now be defined as “a website that is updated frequently with new content, typically consisting of commentary on a particular topic.
1999: Blogger was created by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan
The blogging platform Blogger launched in 1999 with the site blogspot.com and was developed by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan. A year later in 2000, they launched bizarro.blogspot.com which would become Google Blogger after being acquired in 2003 by Google for $25 million dollars.
2002: A big year for blogging
The early 2000s saw a few significant events within the blogging realm. Technorati launched in February 2002 one of the first blog search engines. Heather B. Armstrong sparked a conversation about the privacy and freedom of expression after being fired for writing about her colleagues on her blog.
Congressional aide and controversial blogger Jessica Cutler experienced the same fate as Armstrong after being fired for her blog posts about the Bush White House. A few weeks later in April, Google launched Blogger API as a way to allow third-party developers to create tools and apps that could be used on blogs hosted by Blogspot.
The year 2002 also saw the dawn of “Mommy Bloggers,” who started to write about their lives as mothers. A new type of blogging was born, and it would soon become a major part of the internet.
The following month, Newsweek predicted that blogs will replace traditional media. December of that year, it partially came true when Talking Points Memo (TPM) was the first blog to break a major national story ahead of traditional media.
In August, Blog Ads was launched by Pressflex LLC to allow bloggers to monetize their blogs through advertising. A few months later, the first Blogger Connect event was held at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA.
2003: WordPress was launched by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little
The following year saw one of the most popular blogging platforms being released: WordPress! The software was developed by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, who wanted to make blogging more accessible. It was released first as a separate open-source platform before being merged into WordPress.com in 2005 when the company launched its suite of products for bloggers at WordPress.com/services.
2004 – 2005: Video and the press
In February 2004, videographer Steve Garfield’s blog “Garfield on the Web” was renamed to Avant Video. A few months later, The Huffington Post launched as a liberal news aggregator.
In 2005, we saw blogging taking over television and other traditional media outlets with people like Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann, Anderson Cooper and Rachael Maddow all having their own blogs. A few months later, Jon Stewart announced that he would be launching a blog at Comedy Central’s website with the help of Demand Media.
2005: Blogger was bought by Google and renamed to “Blogspot”
Most people know Blogger as an easy-to-use blogging platform developed in 1999 by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan. A few years later, Google acquired Blogger in 2005 and renamed it to “Blogspot.”
2006-2007: The rise of microblogging and rules
The start of life in 140 characters (or less) began in March 2006, when Twitter was first launched by Jack Dorsey. A few months later in September, the New York Times announced that it would start an experiment with “live blog” coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
The following year saw a lot of changes to blogging culture and news when Twitter unveiled its new rules about what constituted as spam. A few months later in 2008, Facebook launched as a social networking site for college students. A few months later, Google announced it would be shutting down Reader in favor of Google+, the company’s new attempt at entering into the world of microblogging.
Later that year, Adrian Chen launched The Exile – one of Twitter’s first spam accounts to get shut down by its creators because they could not distinguish a parody account from the actual tweets. A few months later, The Onion started their satirical blog A/V Club using WordPress as its blogging platform of choice.
2008: Facebook and Twitter in 140 characters or less
A year after launching as a social networking site for college students, Facebook open registration to everyone 13 years old and over in September of 2008. A few months later in 2009, Twitter released its new rules about what constitutes as spam and how long a user can be inactive before their account gets shut down.
The following year saw the rise of microblogging with companies like Facebook and Twitter making it easier than ever to post short updates online without having to write anything more than 140 characters. A few months later in 2010, The Onion (one of the most popular satirical news websites) started their A/V Club blog using WordPress and Tumblr as its blogging platforms of choice.
2012: Medium is founded
In August 2012, a co-founder of Pyra Labs- a Facebook company- Launched Medium, an online publishing platform that focuses on long form content. Today, Medium is one of the most popular blogging sites on the Internet with more than 25 million monthly users.
The same year that Medium launched, LinkedIn bought SlideShare- the world’s largest social network for professional content creators and curators. A few months later in 2013, LinkedIn announced that it would be shutting down SlideShare after acquiring it in order to focus on its core products – but not before asking users to migrate their accounts over to LinkedIn by June 30th of that year.
2017 the creators of WordPress announced that they would be rolling out a new domain for bloggers called .blog which will provide an opportunity for people to create and own their blog URL.
How blogging continues to change will determine its future for years to come. And that’s something marketers should continue to pay attention to — not just the growth of blogging, but how blogging and social media will continue to change over time.