The Blog Turns Ten
There's a picture over at Wired that you really have to see.
It's of Jorn Barger, the first person to use the word "weblog." Barger coined the term, which has been shortened to the now-ubiquitous "blog," ten years ago yesterday. He used it "to describe the list of links on his Robot Wisdom website that 'logged' his internet wanderings," as Wired puts it.
In the picture, Barger, clad in a blue t-shirt, doesn't exactly look like your office IT geek. He's got a long, scraggly beard, and long tufts of hair shoot out from beneath his ratty "Google" cap. Barger looks like he was working the land in remote mountains somewhere until he gave it all up to get his startup off the ground.
And in terms of a representative of the blogging phenomenon – not to mention the whole internet, really – you couldn't ask for much more.
Think about it: Ten years ago, the truly industrious folks who wanted to share opinions or interesting articles might have had a newsletter. Today, thanks to the drastically reduced barriers to entry that the internet has provided, blogs have taken their place – there are 100 million of them at the moment, according to Technorati, and that number is growing.
Thanks to blogs, no matter how remote you might be, you're now easily interconnected. They've given us windows into warzones, shown us the minds of foreign leaders, and offered insights into everything from tort reform to gay square dancing, to mention just a tiny fraction of the total picture.
The Wired article features plenty of quotes about What It All Means, and you can head over there for the full treatment. One could write a book about how much blogs mean – in fact, folks have – but on the 10-year anniversary of the medium, this particular blog, a tiny voice in the cacophany, simply wanted to simply pay its respects. Blogs can be monumental or inconsequential, insular or wide open, enlightening or enraging. They have made the whole spectrum of human thought available, in all its messy glory, in the click of a button. And what's more revolutionary than that?