Can you believe that blogging has been around for 20 years now? I mean, the term weblog didn’t actually appear until 1997, and it took a little bit longer for it to get broken down to just ‘blog’ (sometime in 1999, it is believed), but the first real online diary that resembles the modern blog was started back in 1994. Maybe that doesn’t seem incredible to you, but the start of the blog was something rather incredible…something that had quite the drastic impact on the world, at least once it became a bit more popularized.
By the early 2000s blogs had become so popular that many news outlets (you know, the ones who had 24 hours to fill with something every single day) actually took to the blogs to try to find things to talk about. After the act of blogging finished being newsworthy, the topics being talked about on the blogs actually became news. Sure, there were a ton of political blogs going around at the time, and the folks who came over from USENET were actually providing a great deal of information from their technical and other backgrounds, but they were still online diaries, in fact, they were probably more that then than they are today.
That meant that when blogs were rising to popularity, you could actually have your blog become the source for news about anything, just if you mentioned the right people…this, some may remember, caused massive issues with the news networks when it was found that bloggers are often unreliable news sources and may even give completely false information just to get readers.
In other words, blogs had a rather interesting start in that the world became excited to suddenly have this voyeuristic look into the daily lives of many people around the world.
And it’s that idea of voyeurism that I think is of particular interest to note. The fact that these online diaries became so popular gives good basis to believe that they are the sole reason all other forms of social media exist today. Many people even consider(ed) Twitter to be a form of micro-blogging.
But here’s the thing…blogs themselves have mostly gone away from the online diary aspect. Sure, maybe online diary blogs continue to exist and get updated randomly by the people writing them, but they don’t account for the actual blogs that people want to read. Sure, popular blogs of the earlier days of blogging, such as Julie and Julia, might make for interesting tales, but ultimately don’t hold the attention of the readers of today. If Julie Powell were to attain the same type of readership today as she did then, it would probably have to be through an instagram account.
Blogs today, instead, are actually becoming the informational sources that news outlets initially expected them to be. From the latest movie news, to marketing ideas, to celebrity gossip, we use blogs today to get most of our information…but we don’t even realize it.
And I really shouldn’t discount Julie Powell (or many of the bloggers who helped bring the trend to the mainstream). Food blogging is huge today, although slowly moving over to places like pinterest and instagram. However, as opposed to a personal narrative, most food bloggers make themselves into something of celebrity chefs, ultimately ending up getting their own book deals to create cookbooks of the recipes they created, as opposed to movie deals to showcase their daily attempts to emulate one of the greats.
I have to say that although I appreciate how much bloggers have really made the move toward being reliable sources of information, following a host of unwritten rules regarding sourcing and giving credit, I somewhat miss the old-style diary approach to telling a story. Blogs used to be a fantastic storytelling medium, a medium that I think is mostly lost today.
But who knows, maybe I’m wrong and I just haven’t found the right blogs in a while. Afterall, there are over 152,000 blogs on the Internet as of 2013. At least a couple of them are even updated regularly 😉
Blogs really do run the gamut these days though. Webcomics, video blogs, food blogs, newsblogs, movie blogs, gossip blogs…et al. I mean, really, if you have any subject you’re interested in, you can find a blog with someone who works hard to make sure to keep you as up to date as possible on that subject.
Makes blogging seem like a pretty important part of today, and quite a bit different from where it started 20 years ago…
Guess I had better get my act together and make this all useful and stuff, huh?
Have fun out there!