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The blog

While some people feel that the roots of blogging lie in the ashes of pen-pal relationships and ham-radio operation, let's start with the computer culture of the 1980s. By the early '80s, the personal computer was starting to take hold. Apple was still king (in terms of home computers), but others, such as IBM and Commodore, were making significant inroads as the years passed. By mid-decade, many computer users had modems, and they were using these modems to log on to bulletin boards (also known as BBs), e-mail lists, or online services such as GEnie and CompuServe (precursors of today's AOL). Many aspects of these outlets and services were essentially early versions of Web logs. People could dial in with their modems, read new messages that had been posted by others, and then enter their own messages.

Clearly, the seeds of blogging were sown in the 1980s, but the real sprouting and growth of blogging occurred in the mid-1990s, paralleling the meteoric rise of the Internet and the World Wide Web. According to Wikipedia, the term Web log was coined in 1997 by Web-log pioneer Jorn Barger. By the eve of the turn of the century, Web log had melded into the single word blog, and the popularity of blogs started to skyrocket. Ultimately, a gentleman by the name of Dave Winer designed a way to inform users when their favorite blogs had been updated with new information, thus making blogging even more versatile and useful to the masses. Today, there are countless blogs, many of which have large followings, such as Jade Walker's “blog of death,” shown in Figure 1.5.


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