Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Um, Who Did Let the Blogs Out?

Who Started the Fire?

In researching my thesis, I've spent a good amount of time focusing on the rise of blog culture. When did blogs first begin? Who started blogging? How did it evolve? Are there factions of bloggers? Who are the original bloggers? Are there generations of bloggers? What have blogs accomplished? What are the implications of bloging in society?

You may find these questions quite similar to the ones I previously asked about blog carnivals. Indeed. The two questions are very connected.

In doing offline research (print publications are privileged in academia as "good" sources), I've encountered a standard origin myth. Most Important Event: 1999 - Blogger launched. Big Names and Sites: Biz Stone, EatonWorld, Rebecca Blood, Xanga, CamWorld, Jason Kottke, Blogger, Scripting News, Doc Searls, et al. Types of Blogs: Filter (link list), diary/notebook/journal, topical (follows certain subject), collaborative (multiple contributrors), combination (some of all of the above). Success recipe: Frequency, quality, personality. Financial Implications: Ads, book deals, career advancement, as well as the more common neutral or negative outcomes. Political Implications: Alternative media, democratic internet, self-publishing revolution, warblogs and new influence on mainstream/traditional media, making politics happen (Howard Dean campaign, Trent Lott scandal).

So, without looking to defame any particular bloggers or trash any particular recounting of events, I'm just wondering if there are other versions of this story. Is there another creation tale? Does the hegemonic version of events leave out any details, persons, events? Does the feminist blogosphere share in this story of beginnings, or did it follow a different evolutionary path? Would feminist bloggers like to make some amendments to the popular record?

And, perhaps most to the point, has anyone blogged about this???

Sample Sources:

Blood, Rebecca. The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Maintaining Your Blog. Cambridge: Perseus, 2002.

Rak, Julie. “The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity.” Biography 28.1 (2005): 166-82.

Stone, Biz. Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

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  1. Don't forget She was fired for blogging and it got a lot of people's attention. I started blogging after hearing about her, reading her story, in early 2001, and finding her hilarious. But I think she may have been one of the most influential bloggers ever, more because it was one person writing about her life in a great and entertaining way that gave others the courage to write thier lives.

  2. Thanks for your comment; I really appreciate your support of my project.

    In including the names of a few "A-List" bloggers, I did not mean to suggest that there weren't other important first-wavers (first-wave of blogging, that is). But there are names that are more often associated with the beginning of blogging than others. And I'm just as interested in the "big" names as I am in the not-as-included names. and I'm just as interested in the "official" story of the blogopshere as I am in teh non-official one.


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