Social Enterprise

Geek Trivia: Blogito, ergo sum

Who generally receives credit for coining the term 'weblog?'

Here's another entry for the "I Had No Idea There Was a Holiday For That" file: June 14 is International Weblogger's Day, set aside to commemorate and celebrate the democratization of Web publishing to allow any and every average schmoe to disseminate his most banal interests and accomplishments to the entire online world.

For the sake of first principle, let's take a look at Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary definition of the term blog: "A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer."

So, contrary to what Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, WordPress, and a dozen or so other software programs would have you believe, the definition of a blog comes from its content, not its platform. And people have been posting personal journals, reflections, and comments to their Web sites since there have been Web sites -- and maybe even before then.

This is where we admit that almost nobody knows -- or at least can agree on -- when and where the first blog appeared. One candidate is Brian E Redman's personal Usenet newsgroup, mod.ber, which operated for a few months in 1983 and 1984. While its content and format were remarkably similar to a blog, it predated the World Wide Web. Call it an ancestor, if not an originator, of blogging.

When the Web finally showed up in all its hyperlinked glory, manually updated Web pages sporting personalized content started to appear as well. If you were willing to put forth the effort, you could publish an online diary to a Web page, though you'd be coding the page by hand. (And, for those of us who remember those days of the Web, often it showed.)

The birth of the term blog, however, came much later. Most folks were content to call online diaries just that, though some described themselves as escribitionists. Even Web sites that weren't exclusively journals often contained a What's New section that offered at least marginally blog-like content.

The beginnings of the term blog, however, come from the slightly older term weblog, which itself was a contraction of the phrase Web log. The word weblog, at least, has a generally accepted etymology, birth date, and credited originator.


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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...


I think that was before any of this web stuff came along, but he used a computer to document his days. First time anyone did that on national t.v. that I know of.


I thought it stood for B.L.O.G. as in Better Listings on Google


Sorry -- Marc Andreessen wasn't the co-creator of the first Web browser. He was, however, the co-creator of Mosaic (arguably the first [b]popular[/b] Web browser). The first was actually called WorldWideWeb, and was created by the now-infamous Tim Berners-Lee using the excellent development tools of the NeXTSTEP operating system. Silversmith was its predecessor -- an SGML browser created by John Bottoms way back in '87. Andreessen's Mosaic, in '93, was a relative latecomer.


Lynx was the only browser available through the shell account I used back in the early '90s, but even then an early form of blogging, sort of a cross between catalog and commentary, was becoming popular as a few people began using their internet start page, then and now most commonly called "index.html," not only to bookmark their favorite sites but to review them. A lot of folks laughed when some guys at Stanford thought they could build some sort of business around their "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web," but it sort of caught on when people started recommending it.

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