Thoughts on software and life.

Sunday July 15

Origins of Blogging

There's been a debate going on, sparked by a Wall Street Journal piece, about who invented blogging. I've always found this topic ridiculous. As someone who discovered the web in 1993, I remember reading Justin Hall's and Dave Winer's journals, but I also recall finding plenty of other things that I regarded as similar at the time. How exactly do you define what a "blog" is, anyhow, when there are so many different forms of personal expression that happen online.

I'd like to think my good friend Doug Palermo was one of the first bloggers, if not the first. In 1995, Doug and I created our first website, Feff World, just after finishing our junior year of high school. Doug was and is a hilarious writer, and he started writing "The Weekly Whack" in July of that year. The Whack was a chronologically ordered series of ruminations on Doug's everyday life, usually with a humorist twist. Unless you want to get picky about weekly vs. daily, that sounds like a blog to me. The first Whack is now twelve years old, two years older than the so-called "first blog" by Jorn Barger.

At first, Doug would email me the Whack and I would upload it to the site, but later on I wrote some Perl CGI scripts so Doug could post it himself. Was this the first "blogging software"?

Frankly I don't think it was, any more than Jorn Barger was the first blogger. When Doug and I started in 1995 there were other people writing periodically on the web, and I'm sure there was other automated publishing software as well. None of it had a catchy name like "blog", but it was very much the same. It would be unfair to give credit to any one person who happened to be there on the day the term "blog" was coined. The "blog" wasn't invented, it evolved through many hands.

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