Bloggers via Media Man Int, Media Man Australia and
Australian Sports Entertainment
blog is a user-generated website where entries are
made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological
often provide commentary or news on a particular subject,
such as food, politics, or local news; some function
as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines
text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages,
and other media related to its topic. The ability
for readers to leave comments in an interactive format
is an important part of most early blogs. Most blogs
are primarily textual although some focus on photographs
(photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting),
and are part of a wider network of social media.
term "blog" is derived from "Web log."
"Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning
to maintain or add content to a blog.
term blog is commonly acredited to the web-journal
pioneer Travis Petler. He coined the term on his personal
blog in early September of 1997 while studying at
Brown University. His use of the word spread to other
college campus' where other weblogs were present.
of November 2006, blog search engine Technorati was
tracking nearly 60 million blogs.
Chronicles, commonplaces, diaries, and perzines can
all be seen as predecessors of blogs.
blogging became popular, digital communities took
many forms, including Usenet, e-mail lists and
bulletin board systems (BBS). In the 1990s, Internet
forum software, such as WebEx, created running conversations
with "threads". Threads are topical connections
between messages on a metaphorical "corkboard".
Some have likened blogging to the mass-observation
movement of the mid-20th century.
Main article: Online diary
Brad Fitzpatrick, an early blogger.The modern blog
evolved from the online diary, where people would
keep a running account of their personal lives. Most
such writers called themselves diarists, journalists,
or journalers. A few called themselves escribitionists.
The Open Pages webring included members of the online-journal
community. Justin Hall, who began eleven years of
personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore
College, is generally recognized as one of the earliest
forms of journals kept online also existed. A notable
example was game programmer John Carmack's widely
read journal, published via the finger protocol. Websites,
including both corporate sites and personal homepages,
had and still often have "What's New" or
"News" sections, often on the index page
and sorted by date. One example of a news based "weblog"
is the Drudge Report founded by the self styled maverick
reporter Matt Drudge, though apparently Drudge dislikes
this classification. Another is the Institute for
Public Accuracy which began posting news releases
featuring several news-pegged one-paragraph quotes
several time a week beginning in 1998. One noteworthy
early precursor to a blog was the tongue-in-cheek
personal website that was frequently updated by Usenet
weblogs were simply manually updated components of
common websites. However, the evolution of tools to
facilitate the production and maintenance of web articles
posted in reverse chronological order made the publishing
process feasible to a much larger, less technical,
population. Ultimately, this resulted in the distinct
class of online publishing that produces blogs we
recognize today. For instance, the use of some sort
of browser-based software is now a typical aspect
of "blogging". Blogs can be hosted by dedicated
blog hosting services, or they can be run using blog
software, such as WordPress, Movable Type, blogger
or LiveJournal, or on regular web hosting services,
such as DreamHost.
term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger
on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog,"
was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the
word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar
of his blog Peterme.com in April or May of 1999. This
was quickly adopted as both a noun and verb ("to
blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or
to post to one's weblog").
a slow start, blogging rapidly gained in popularity:
the site Xanga, launched in 1996, had only 100 diaries
by 1997, but over 20 million as of December 2005.
Blog usage spread during 1999 and the years following,
being further popularized by the near-simultaneous
arrival of the first hosted blog tools:
Diary launched in October 1998, soon growing to thousands
of online diaries. Open Diary innovated the reader
comment, becoming the first blog community where readers
could add comments to other writers' blog entries.
Brad Fitzpatrick started LiveJournal in March 1999.
Andrew Smales created Pitas.com in July 1999 as an
easier alternative to maintaining a "news page"
on a website, followed by Diaryland in September 1999,
focusing more on a personal diary community.
Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan (Pyra Labs) launched
blogger.com in August 1999 (purchased by Google in
Blogging combined the personal web page with tools
to make linking to other pages easier specifically
permalinks, blogrolls and TrackBacks. This, together
with weblog search engines enabled bloggers to track
the threads that connected them to others with similar
Several broadly popular American blogs emerged in
2001: Andrew Sullivan's AndrewSullivan.com, Ron Gunzburger's
Politics1.com, Taegan Goddard's Political Wire, Glenn
Reynolds' Instapundit, Charles Johnson's Little Green
Footballs, and Jerome Armstrong's MyDD all
blogging primarily on politics (two earlier popular
American political blogs were Bob Somerby's Daily
Howler launched in 1998 and Mickey Kaus' Kausfiles
launched in 1999).
2001, blogging was enough of a phenomenon that how-to
manuals began to appear, primarily focusing on technique.
The importance of the blogging community (and its
relationship to larger society) increased rapidly.
Established schools of journalism began researching
blogging and noting the differences between journalism
2002, Jerome Armstrong's friend and sometime business
partner Markos Moulitsas Zúniga began DailyKos.
With up to a million visits a day during peak events,
it has now become one of the Internet's most trafficked
in 2002, many blogs focused on comments by U.S. Senate
Majority Leader Trent Lott. Senator Lott, at a party
honoring U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, praised Senator
Thurmond by suggesting that the United States would
have been better off had Thurmond been elected president.
Lott's critics saw these comments as a tacit approval
of racial segregation, a policy advocated by Thurmond's
1948 presidential campaign. This view was reinforced
by documents and recorded interviews dug up by bloggers.
(See Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo.) Though
Lott's comments were made at a public event attended
by the media, no major media organizations reported
on his controversial comments until after blogs broke
the story. Blogging helped to create a political crisis
that forced Lott to step down as majority leader.
impact of this story gave greater credibility to blogs
as a medium of news dissemination. Though often seen
as partisan gossips, bloggers sometimes lead the way
in bringing key information to public light, with
mainstream media having to follow their lead. More
often, however, news blogs tend to react to material
already published by the mainstream media.
2002, blogs have gained increasing notice and coverage
for their role in breaking, shaping, and spinning
news stories. The Iraq war saw bloggers taking measured
and passionate points of view that go beyond the traditional
left-right divide of the political spectrum.
by established politicians and political candidates,
to express opinions on war and other issues, cemented
blogs' role as a news source. (See Howard Dean and
Wesley Clark.) Meanwhile, an increasing number of
experts blogged, making blogs a source of in-depth
analysis. (See Daniel Drezner and J. Bradford DeLong.)
second Iraq war was the first "blog war"
in another way: Iraqi bloggers gained wide readership,
and one, Salam Pax, published a book of his blog.
Blogs were also created by soldiers serving in the
Iraq war. Such "warblog" gave readers new
perspectives on the realities of war, as well as often
offering different viewpoints from those of official
was used to draw attention to obscure news sources.
For example, bloggers posted links to traffic cameras
in Madrid as a huge anti-terrorism demonstration filled
the streets in the wake of the March 11 attacks.
began to provide nearly-instant commentary on televised
events, creating a secondary meaning of the word "blogging":
to simultaneously transcribe and editorialize speeches
and events shown on television. (For example, "I
am blogging Rice's testimony" means "I am
posting my reactions to Condoleezza Rice's testimony
into my blog as I watch her on television.")
Real-time commentary is sometimes referred to as "liveblogging."
In 2004, the role of blogs became increasingly mainstream,
as political consultants, news services and candidates
began using them as tools for outreach and opinion
forming. Even politicians not actively campaigning,
such as the UK's Labour Party's MP Tom Watson, began
to blog to bond with constituents.
Public Radio broadcast a program by Christopher Lydon
and Matt Stoller called "The blogging of the
President," which covered a transformation in
politics that blogging seemed to presage. The Columbia
Journalism Review began regular coverage of blogs
and blogging. Anthologies of blog pieces reached print,
and blogging personalities began appearing on radio
and television. In the summer of 2004, both United
States Democratic and Republican Parties' conventions
credentialed bloggers, and blogs became a standard
part of the publicity arsenal. Mainstream television
programs, such as Chris Matthews' Hardball, formed
their own blogs. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary declared
"blog" as the word of the year in 2004.
were among the driving forces behind the "Rathergate"
scandal, to wit: (television journalist) Dan Rather
presented documents (on the CBS show 60 Minutes) that
conflicted with accepted accounts of President Bush's
military service record. Bloggers declared the documents
to be forgeries and presented evidence and arguments
in support of that view, and CBS apologized for what
it said were inadequate reporting techniques (see
Little Green Footballs). Many bloggers view this scandal
as the advent of blogs' acceptance by the mass media,
both as a source of news and opinion and as means
of applying political pressure.
bloggers have moved over to other media. The following
bloggers (and others) have appeared on radio and television:
Duncan Black (known widely by his pseudonym, Atrios),
Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) , Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
(Daily Kos), Alex Steffen (Worldchanging) and Ana
Marie Cox (Wonkette). Hugh Hewitt is an example of
a media personality who has moved in the other direction,
adding to his reach in "old media" by being
an influential blogger.
blogs were an important source of news during the
December 2004 Tsunami such as Medecins Sans Frontieres,
which used SMS text messaging to report from affected
areas in Sri Lanka and Southern India. Similarly,
during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the aftermath
a few blogs which were located in New Orleans, including
the Interdictor and Gulfsails were able to maintain
power and an internet connection and disseminate information
that was not covered by the Main Stream Media.
the United Kingdom, The Guardian newspaper launched
a redesign in September 2005, which included a daily
digest of blogs on page 2. Also in June 2006, BBC
News launched a weblog for its editors, following
other news companies.
January 2005, Fortune magazine listed eight bloggers
that business people "could not ignore":
Peter Rojas, Xeni Jardin, Ben Trott, Mena Trott, Jonathan
Schwartz, Jason Goldman, Robert Scoble, and Jason
A photo of Joi Ito's moblog.There are various types
of blogs, and each differs in the way content is delivered
A blog comprising videos is called a vlog, one comprising
links is called a linklog,, a site containing
a portfolio of sketches is called a sketchblog or
one comprising photos is called a photoblog. Blogs
with shorter posts and mixed media types are called
Blogs can also be defined by which type of device
is used to compose it. A blog written by a mobile
device like a mobile phone or PDA is called a moblog.
Some blogs focus on a particular subject, such as
political blogs, travel blogs, fashion blogs, project
blogs or legal blogs (often referred to as a blawgs).
Legal status of publishers
A blog can be private, as in most cases, or it can
be for business purposes. Blogs, either used internally
to enhance the communication and culture in a corporation
or externally for marketing, branding or PR purposes
are called corporate blogs.
Blog search engines
Several blog search engines are used to search blog
contents (also known as the blogosphere), such as
blogdigger, Feedster, and Technorati. Technorati provides
current information on both popular searches and tags
used to categorize blog postings.
Recently, researchers have analyzed the dynamics of
how blogs become popular. There are essentially two
measures of this: popularity through citations, as
well as popularity through affiliation (i.e. blogroll).
The basic conclusion from studies of the structure
of blogs is that while it takes time for a blog to
become popular through blogrolls, permalinks can boost
popularity more quickly, and are perhaps more indicative
of popularity and authority than blogrolls, since
they denote that people are actually reading the blog's
content and deem it valuable or noteworthy in specific
blogdex project was launched by researchers in the
MIT Media Lab to crawl the web and gather data from
thousands of blogs in order to investigate their social
properties. It gathered this information for over
4 years, and autonomously tracked the most contagious
information spreading in the blog community. The project
is no longer active.
are also given rankings by Technorati based on the
amount of incoming links and Alexa Internet based
on the web hits of Alexa Toolbar users. In August
2006, Technorati listed the most linked-to blog as
that of Chinese actress Xu Jinglei and the most-read
blog as group-written Boing Boing.
Group forecasts that blogging will peak in 2007, levelling
off when the number of writers who maintain a personal
website reaches 100 million. Gartner analysts expect
that the novelty value of the medium will wear off
as most people who are interested in the phenomenon
have checked it out, and new bloggers will offset
the number of writers who abandon their creation out
of boredom. The firm estimates that there are more
than 200 million former bloggers who have ceased posting
to their online diaries, creating an exponential rise
in the amount of dotsam and netsam (i.e. unwanted
objects) on the Web.
was reported by Chinese media Xinhua that the blog
of Xu Jinglei received more than 50 million page views,
claiming to be the most popular blog in the world.
In mid-2006, it also had the most incoming links of
any blogs on the Internet.]
Blogging and the mass media
Many bloggers differentiate themselves from the mainstream
media, while others are members of that media working
through a different channel. Some institutions see
blogging as a means of "getting around the filter"
and pushing messages directly to the public. Some
critics worry that bloggers respect neither copyright
nor the role of the mass media in presenting society
with credible news. Bloggers and other contributors
to user generated content are behind TIME magazine
naming the 2006 person of the year as "you".
mainstream journalists, meanwhile, write their own
blogs -- well over 300, according to CyberJournalist.net's
J-blog list. The first known use of a Weblog on a
news site was in August 1998, when Jonathan Dube of
The Charlotte Observer published one chronicling Hurricane
have also had an influence on minority languages,
bringing together scattered speakers and learners;
this is particularly so with blogs in Gaelic languages,
whose creators can be found as far away from traditional
Gaelic areas as Kazakhstan and Alaska. Minority language
publishing (which may lack economic feasibility) can
find its audience through inexpensive blogging.
The emergence of blogging has brought a range of legal
liabilities. Employers have "dooced" (fired)
employees who maintain personal blogs that discuss
their employers. The major areas of concern are the
issues of proprietary or confidential information,
and defamation. Several cases have been brought before
the national courts against bloggers and the courts
have returned with mixed verdicts. In John Doe v.
Patrick Cahill, the Delaware Supreme Court held that
stringent standards had to be met to unmask anonymous
bloggers, and also took the unusual step of dismissing
the libel case itself (as unfounded under American
libel law) rather than referring it back to the trial
court for reconsideration. In a bizarre twist, the
Cahills were able to find the ISP address of John
Doe, who turned out to be the person they suspected:
the town's mayor, Councilman Cahill's political rival.
The Cahills amended their original complaint, and
the mayor settled the case rather than going to trial.
Singapore, on the other hand, two ethnic Chinese were
imprisoned under the countrys anti-sedition
law for posting anti-Muslim remarks in their weblogs.
Internet Service Providers, in general, are immune
from liability for information that originates with
Third Parties (U.S. Communications Decency Act and
the EU Directive 2000/31/EC).
Malaysia, eight Royal Dutch Shell Group companies
collectively obtained in June 2004 an Interim Injunction
and Restraining Order against a Shell whistleblower,
a Malaysian geologist and former Shell employee, Dr
John Huong. The proceedings are in respect of alleged
defamatory postings attributed to Dr Huong on a weblog
hosted in North America but owned and operated by
an 89 year old British national, Alfred Donovan, a
long term critic of Shell. The Shell action is directed
solely against Dr Huong. Further proceedings against
Dr Huong were issued by the same plaintiff companies
in 2006 in respect of publications on Donovan weblog
sites in 2005 and 2006. The further proceedings include
a "Notice to Show Cause" relating to a "contempt
of court" action potentially punishable by imprisonment.
The contempt hearing and a related application by
the eight Royal Dutch Shell plaintiff companies for
Dr Huong to produce Alfred Donovan for cross-examination
in connection with an affidavit Donovan provided,
was scheduled to be heard in the High Court of Malay
in Kuala Lumpur on 17th August 2006. Donovan's principle
weblog is royaldutchshellplc.com. In Kanuary 2007,
Jeff Ooi and Rocky's Bru are sued for defaming a pro-government
newspaper. This is the first legal case against bloggers
in the country.
Britain, a college lecturer contributed to a blog
in which she referred to a politician (who had also
expressed his views in the same blog) using various
uncomplimentary names, including referring to him
as a "Nazi". The politician found out the
real name of the lecturer (she wrote under a pseudonym)
via the ISP and successfully sued her for £10,000
in damages and £7,200 costs. In the spring of
2006, Erik Ringmar, a tenured senior lecturer at the
London School of Economics was ordered by the convenor
of his department to "take down and destroy"
a blog in which he discussed student life at the school.
Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was recently
fined during the 2006 NBA playoffs for criticizing
NBA officials on the court and in his blog.
Simonetti, a US airline attendant, lost her job after
posting photos of herself in uniform displaying more
cleavage than ordinary on her blog "The Queen
of the Sky". Simonetti took legal action against
the airline for "wrongful termination, defamation
of character and lost future wages".
India, blogger Gaurav Sabnis resigned from IBM after
his posts exposing the false claims of a management
school, IIPM, led to management of IIPM threatening
to burn their IBM laptops as a sign of protest against
the United States blogger Aaron Wall was sued by Traffic
Power for defamation and publication of trade secrets
in 2005. According to Wired Magazine, Traffic Power
had been "banned from Google for allegedly rigging
search engine results." Wall and other "white
hat" search engine optimization consultants had
exposed Traffic Power in what they claim was an effort
to protect the public. The case was watched by many
bloggers because it addressed the murky legal question
of who's liable for comments posted on blogs. (Credit: