It was an induction session in my campus. Every year, when the new batch of students come, academic institutions hold an induction program – ranging anywhere between 3 days to 1 week – to make the new batch aware of their institution’s faculty, facilities, and operational framework.
In a typical induction programs, faculty and students give brief introduction to one another with their respective names and affiliations.
Asim, a tall young boy with a well-build physique introduced himself saying, “Hello All, I am Asim and I am a business blogger”.
Business Blogger? Is it a hobby or a profession or just an online engagement? Many of the serious professors wondered.
It’s true that blogging has undergone a paradigm shift since its inception in the 1990s. If we look at the history of blogging, blogs have evolved from personal diaries and online pages to platforms that support freedom of speech, opinions and campaigns on a variety of topics as varied as gender, nature, population, science, health, politics, culture and entertainment.
Blogging, as concept was born in 1993 as an online journaling activity where writers shared their opinions on a subject for personal or business reasons. It has come a long way ever since.
In the early years, blogging emerged as personal diaries or online pages where people vented out their feelings and pent-up stories of the ups and downs of their lives.
Some historical facts about blogs, blogging and bloggers
Early Days of Blogging
- Justin Hall, an undergrad from Swarthmore College, was one of the original bloggers. He created a website called links.net in 1994 to publish his writing. These writings focused on the details of his life which he shared with his fellow students and readers.
- The links.net website consisted of brief posts with shared links that gave access to Justin’s work and other websites. His works were not termed as ‘blog’ but referred to as “Online Diaries” or “Personal Pages.”
- Ten years later, The New York Times, in one of its articles, mentioned Justin as the “Founding Father of Personal Bloggers”.
- In 1997, Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog”
- The weblog was a combination of two words – ‘log’ which means ‘written documentation’, and ‘web’ taken from the ‘world wide web’.
- In those days, bloggers had to write code for their websites, add a new HTML page to the server with every update the homepage with new links.
- In 1999, tools like ‘Pitas’ and Metafilter were launched that allowed bloggers to post entries direct on the main Metafilter website. Such hassle-free tools paved the way for blogging to become popular.
- In 1998, the blogging platform Open Diarywas launched. It made the two-way communication possible and allowed its members to interact with the blogger by commenting on his/her writing. This feature gave birth to the then-new trend of posting readers’ comments.
- Peter Merholz holds the credit of simplifying and shortening the term ‘weblog’ to ‘blog’.
- In 1998 itself, Pyra Labs founded ‘Blogger’, which was later acquired by Google and made free and accessible for all users.
- The introduction of the permalink, it turned out to be one of the turning points in the early days of blogging. With every entry on Blogger, the user was given a permanent and shareable URL, which helped users to access the content they were searching for. The permalink attracted many new users, which in turn made Blogger the platform of choice for a lot of writers.
Growing Days of Blogging
- The year 2002 was a big one for the blogosphere. In 2002, we witnessed an expansion of parenting blogs, one of the first being com, founded by Melinda Roberts.
- Technorati, the first blog search engine became the world’s largest blog directory featuring an incredibly useful and monumental index of blogs and all accompanying information.
- Later, Technorati was overtaken by Google Blog Search. Now, it only exists as a blog search feature within Google News.
- In 2003 , two more blogging services entered the ecosystem – TypePad and WordPressthat allowed users to design and create their fully customizable blogs.
- WordPress is now the most popular content management system in the world.
- In the later half of 2003, Google also launched its two flagship products, AdSense and AdWords. They allowed people to integrate their blogs with advertisements for relevant products and services.
- In 2004, Merriam Webster nominated the word ‘blog’ as its word for the year.
- The year 2004 also saw the advent of video blogs or vlogs when Steve Garfield uploaded short videos of protests, rallies, and news events on his personal website.
- Interestingly, YouTube– was launched the following year on February 14, 2005, by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. It had started as a dating site and turned into a video-sharing platform after it was acquired by Google in 2006.
- Later, the launch of The Huffington Postin May of 2005, the boundaries between blogging and news reporting started getting blurred. By then, the cyber journalists began to blog on current news and affairs, which gave it the aura of a news outlet.
- In 2006, Twitterbrought in the rise of microblogging with the origin of and its 140-character limit. It gained popularity due to the availability of additional social media networking features.
- With the launch of Tumblr– the first official microblogging platform in 2007- the users were enabled to post concise content with multimedia objects. It also eased the re-blogging and liking of the content by other people.
- This made communication easier and people started posting their viewpoints on such platforms.
Maturity Days of Blogging
- In 2012, the blogging landscape changed phenomenally with the launch of Medium – an online blog-publishing platform that supports both professional and amateur writers.
- In 2013, LinkedIn introduced a similar blogging platform called Pulsefor selective users like B2B brands and business professionals who use Linkedin.
- In 2015, Pulse was made available to all.
- Where both Medium and Pulse lack the feature of allocating domain names to a user in the same way as WordPress or Tumblr do, they allow bloggers to share their posts with a broader audience to generate more traffic.
- By 2016, WordPress added the extension of .blog to its list of URLs. This meant that people could now choose a domain namewith the .blog extension, in addition to other domain extensions such as .com, .net, and .org.
- In recent years, WordPress users produce over 5 millionnew blog posts and 52 million new comments monthly.
Over a period of time, personal blogging has transitioned into professional blogging – a very cost-effective proposition that brands and businesses use to achieve their marketing goals and to make moolah through advertisements of relevant products and services on their blogs.
With each passing year, the popularity of blogging kept increasing. This trend gave rise to many new tools that helped people to integrate their blogs with ads to monetize their work thereby paving the way for brand sponsorships for blogs that fit their respective niche, and freebies in exchange for endorsements. This changed the blogging landscape and it started to turn more into a business.
At present, blogs are an integral part of the digital world. Everyone reads them, whether they are based on news stories, facts or on topics of media, entertainment, or current events. The blog posts of today comprise images, infographics, and a vast array of information, not just text.
Blogging in the post Covid Times
- Post 2020, blogging has become the most critical part of the marketing and content strategy of any company that aims to target its audience with a compelling and relatable brand message.
- Studies suggest that brands that prioritize blogging in their marketing strategy are 13 timesmore likely to generate positive ROI.
- The rise in social media has given way to Vlogs and podcasts, which constitute a significant chunk of the blogging world now.
- During the covid times, bloggers across the world posted multimedia content through platforms like Tumblr, Facebook Live, Snapchat Stories, and Instagram
- With social media websites causing a reduction in organic searches, search engine optimizationhas become the primary marketing tool to attract audiences.
Blogging is here to stay. Hence, marketing professionals and content creators should expect even better blogs and blogging platforms in the future.