Singaporeans were among the earliest bloggers. I just found that Alex Au launched Yawning Bread in 1996.
That was only two years after Justin Hall, then a Swarthmore College student, created Justin’s Links from the Underground (www.links.net) in January 1994. It’s considered the very first blog. But he called it his personal homepage.
The term “weblog” was coined by John Barger, who started his Robot Wisdom site in February 1995 and began posting daily on his Robot Wisdom Weblog on December 17, 1997.
Singapore’s MrBrown also goes back to 1997. The website’s profile page says:
I, mrbrown, am the accidental author of a popular Singapore website, mrbrown.com, that has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.
Barger was inspired by another blogger, Dave Winer.
“I started blogging in 1994,” says Dave Winer, who developed RSS and whose Scripting News archives go as far back as October 1994.
The word “weblog” was shortened to “blog” by Peter Merholz. He jokingly broke the word “weblog” into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his blog peterme.com in April or May 1999, says Wikipedia.
Blogger was launched in August 1999. I thought it was the first free blogging software. But no, it came out a month after Pitas. That was the first free blogging platform.
Blogger was created by Pyra Labs, founded by Evan Williams. He sold Pyra to Google in 2003 and went on to co-found Twitter in 2007.
— Steffen Konrath (@StKonrath) October 2, 2013
Twitter the application was created in 2006 when Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone were still at Odeo, a podcasting company, but Twitter the company was set up in April 2007.
I started thinking about the history of blogging after reading about the arrest and interrogation of suspected Singapore hackers yesterday.
The man suspected to be The Messiah, who broke into the Straits Times website, was charged yesterday with hacking other Singapore websites.
Five other Singaporean men are assisting in the investigation into the hacking of the Prime Minister’s Office and Istana (President’s office) websites.
The Anonymous group of hackers had in a YouTube video threatened to declare war on the Singapore government if it did not reconsider licensing laws for news websites.
The Messiah broke into the Straits Times website when it reported Anonymous had threatened to declare war on Singapore and did not add the word “government”.
When did political activism start online? This is something Yawning Bread and MrBrown can say. Cherian George would know too. He has written about online media in Singapore and Malaysia.
The first blogs I recall seeing — Belle de Jour, Lenin’s Tomb, A Fistful of Euros, Dooce — go back to 2001-2003. The Guardian used to cover blogs then. Personal blogs like Belle de Jour and Dooce at one time seemed more popular than political blogs such as Lenin’s Tomb.
Political blogs hit the big time in 2002 when they brought down Senator Trent Lott, recalls Wikipedia. It says:
An early milestone in the rise in importance of blogs came in 2002, when many bloggers focused on comments by US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Senator Lott, at a party honouring 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. 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.
Well, I won’t be able to blog for a while. This will be last post for now. Happy trails till we meet again!