The Evolution of Blogging - TDR
The first online journal was published in 1994 by a college student, and since then the practice of sharing day-to-day thoughts and opinions has exploded into what we now know as blogging. A blog, or weblog as it was originally known, is the term given to a website which contains regular journal-like entries based on anything from the authors personal life, to politics, sport or world news. These entries may be based entirely on opinions, or may feature images or video, as well as links to external sites or other blogs.
In the late 1990’s, there were several services launched allowing the lesser informed Internet community to start their own blog. Popular services included Open Diary and LiveJournal, each of which had several million users within just a few years of their birth. Perhaps the most significant advantage of these services was the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people across the web via a single portal. Authors could now share their thoughts with the world, which encouraged many to write regular features on their blogs or put their point of view across on world issues.
Since 2000, several other major services were launched or updated, allowing users to create profiles and share everything from photographs to video clips and favourite links. Xanga is a perfect example of a service that has evolved to cope with the ever increasing demand of bloggers around the world. For those looking for more power of their web presence, software such as the popular Wordpress was released, allowing users much more flexibility over the look and feel of their blog. Fortunately, most of these platforms were released freely albeit required a small link back to the author’s website.
Blogging has also encountered more than its fair share of controversy, which comes as little surprise given its uncensored nature. Many have been challenged over their content, particularly during the war in Iraq where some were keen to make their views known, however radical.
The fact that blogs are written by individuals has added another dimension to world news. Instead of being limited to the opinions and facts supplied by news sites, more in-depth discussion and theories are put forward in blogs across the web. The power held by a popular blog is significant, and is argued to far outweigh the biased opinion of many a newspaper columnists.
Perhaps the latest development in blogging is monetization, whereby authors use their blogs to generate revenue. In almost all cases this comes from advertising links or banners, such as the ever popular Google Adwords or Yahoo Publisher Network adverts, though affiliate links are not uncommon. The widespread use of blogs generates a huge amount of traffic, and those canny enough to target this traffic have developed a number of valuable sites. It won’t get you rich without significant work, but a popular blog with regular traffic makes an ideal location for adverts.
It is difficult to see where is next as far as blogs are concerned, after all users have now branched out into personal profiles, world issues and monetization. However, blogging is set to stay with us for some time, and it has never been easier to make your mark on the web. Perhaps the ability to speak out and be heard is the reason blogging went from a casual online journal to a valuable commodity.