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The Early Days Of the Web

When web met logs

In the mid-1990s, the internet was just emerging into the mainstream, and most websites consisted of plain pages with text and links. The web was a new frontier waiting to be explored. Search engines were basic, connections were slow, but there was a sense of excitement about the potential of this technology to connect people globally.

One student’s innovation

In 1994, college student Justin Hall became intrigued by this fledgling online world and decided to create his own personal website on the web. Called “Justin’s Links from the Underground,” the site compiled some of his favorite links he had discovered, early versions of a link aggregation page.

The birth of an online journal

But Justin’s site quickly evolved past just collected links. He began using it to document his daily thoughts, activities, and experiences—almost like an open diary. This was one of the first times someone had utilized the web in this introspective, journal-like manner. Justin was sharing a window into his personal world, uncensored and transparent.

The rise of “weblogs”

Other internet enthusiasts took inspiration from Justin’s chronicle. The term “weblog” was coined in 1997, defined as logging your journeys across the expansive internet. The weblog allowed users to track their online explorations through saved links, commentary, and personal narratives.

The contraction heard ’round the world

By 1999, weblogs had become popular, but the term was clunky. Tech blogger Peter Merholz playfully shortened “weblog” to “blog” in a sidebar piece. This portmanteau gained traction and ushered in the age of “blogging” as we know it. The more approachable word reflected the inclusive spirit of the budding blogging community.

Blogs expand self-expression

Justin Hall continued evolving his own blog, transforming it into a deeply personal chronicle of his inner thoughts and outer experiences. His willingness to be so transparently authentic sparked a cultural movement. Blogs became a platform for unfettered self-expression and storytelling.

The blogosphere is born

In the early 2000s, sites like Blogger and WordPress enabled easy self-publishing, and blogs exploded in popularity. People from all backgrounds shared their interests, knowledge, and lives. The blogosphere had arrived as a bustling new digital cosmos, built on individual perspectives. Anyone could have a voice.

The lasting cultural change

Blogging fundamentally changed internet communication and information sharing. It took publishing power from institutions and gave it to ordinary individuals. This democratization shaped public discourse by amplifying authentic and diverse voices. The legacy of these humble beginnings continues to thrive in the vibrant, boundless blogosphere.

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