Happy 20th Birthday Blogging! Now such a common part of the everyday life of a business these days, blogs had no place just 20 years ago. The Internet has changed from being a fringe technology to being central to life, from basic information about anything to creating a modern marketing phenomenon for any kind of business. How has this phenomenon evolved, and what importance does it hold today?
The Virtual Cork Board
The beginning of blogs didn’t really resemble a blog at all, but more running thread conversation among individuals in the mid-1980’s. Threads we have now are much more thought-out and tend to stick to the same subject matter within each thread. The threads of blogging’s beginnings were much more like random thoughts on any given issue, posted by anybody. This is why blogging was likened to the cork board. Blogs started out as random snippets of conversation pinned to a board by many individuals.
Letting It All Hang Out
In the 1990’s, the blog evolved into an online journal of sorts. Individuals with no computer experience could easily record events in their lives once templates became available. An explosion of online content gave the everyman access to the world in a new and different way. People could anonymously connect on emotional levels with others, commiserate with the depressed, celebrate with those who posted joyous occasions and simply know that their words were out there for potentially millions of readers to find.
Xanga, LiveJournal, Open Diary and SlashDot swarmed with users wanting to tell the daily concerns of their lives. You remember these media, right? Many individuals just might be a tad embarrassed by their former blogs, when you think about it. A recent Guardian article suggests that the vast majority of individuals would sooner die than have their former “blog” posts resurface. The full reality of what it would mean to have a blog online was impossible to imagine, and looking back those blogs feel naive and amateur.
Corporate Blogging Begins
The corporate world jumped on this tell-all bandwagon, with websites maintaining a “what’s new” section, updated daily with a paragraph or so about the latest news in the industry. This short form of business blog became quite popular, as it allowed daily communication from and connection to a company. With the corporate world given the opportunity to spread their information on a daily basis, business would be changed forever. Attention would be paid to how the world sees that company every day, based not only on advertising that comes and goes, but on a constant stream that adds up to a complete picture.
Political blogs made their appearance in 2001, gaining popularity especially in light of the September 11th attacks. Instant communication suddenly became critical, and the familiarity with the Internet as a resource grew startlingly fast. It was only a matter of time before how-to manuals came on the scene. How one should choose a topic, formulate the desired intent and other technique-based information was offered to the public.
Soon, simultaneous information was available. Speeches by political superstars were viewed at the same time as commentary about the speech, termed “liveblogging”. Individuals would blog about events as they were happening, not only giving them the ability to talk about their opinions, but to also be one of the first to comment on the actual event.
Blogging Today – Individuals in a Sea of Information
Blogs today have become much more than a simple place to share thoughts. This form of written word has evolved from the days of simply typing what happened to you that day, or detailing your love interest’s inability to notice you. Blogs have become a place where a persona is built, where breaking news is reported, and where people find communities interested in their favorite things.
They have turned into online magazines of sorts, finding a particular niche and passionately writing various ideologies on that particular topic. Technology, politics, gardening and the art of smoothies can all be found in the blogosphere – and not just one or two articles. Individuals have cultivated these blogs into hundreds of posts on their chosen topics. Those who write about events are no longer the “first on the scene” of the political mishap, but now just one in a slew of Tweeters, Facebook posters and bloggers.
Life, in general, is much more accessible thanks to the bloggers of today. News travels faster than ever – and in shorter sentences thanks to social media websites. Sharing a blog does not just have to involve writing it and telling people about it, or waiting for somebody to stumble upon it after a Google search. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like are all quick ways to say “hey, check out this blog about new yoga moves.” Real ideas and philosophical pronouncements are not just for printed books and magazines. With a few keystrokes, any individual can become a self-published author! The availability of ideas and information is overwhelming in our society today.
What The Future of Blogging Will Look Like?
What does this blogging and social media-infested society mean for the future? After 20 years, blogging has certainly evolved into more than the average person’s desperate desire to be heard. Instagram and Twitter are becoming required social media outlets for many brands, and have the tendency to reach large audiences without as much work. Beautiful digital images are replacing paragraphs of content. It seems the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been taken to a literal level.
This quick and snappy approach seems to prove successful for many businesses. It seems that our classic “weblogs” have evolved into an informational avenue, and then shortened to ensure even more access by people across the world. But is that what people really want? Recent studies have shown that readers are actually interested in quality content, even though life seems to have sped up. The fact is that snippets are available everywhere, but the complete story has gained value. Blogging at 20 years old is here to stay.