Wall Street Journal gets blogging history wrong

Mike Arrington is right, (so is Duncan Riley) the Wall Street Journal got blogging’s history wrong. Dave Winer had a blog long before Jorn Barger started blogging or came up with the name “blog.” In fact, if I remember my history right Jorn was using software developed by Dave Winer to do his blog.

Dave Winer was certainly at the center of the kind of blogging I was involved in. It’s sad that so many journalists get the history wrong. It’s also amazing that very few (I don’t see evidence that ANY were interviewed, actually) of the pre-2001 bloggers were interviewed for this article.

I thought mainstream journalists were supposed to get it right and leave the inaccuracies and all that to us bloggers…

Comments

  1. Blogging is much older even than Frontier (which I was a user of). Back in the early 1980′s I “blogged” on my Wildcat! BBS (which was based in the Bay Area – Novato – and called BIOS II BBS).

    It was an online shared mechanism for mw to write and share thoughts and ideas, and it contained a comment function.

    If it wasn’t a “blog” I don’t know what disqualifies it… The only real difference now is that most users don’t “dial-in” to a specific number to get at a specific “blog”.

    Rob

  2. Blogging is much older even than Frontier (which I was a user of). Back in the early 1980′s I “blogged” on my Wildcat! BBS (which was based in the Bay Area – Novato – and called BIOS II BBS).

    It was an online shared mechanism for mw to write and share thoughts and ideas, and it contained a comment function.

    If it wasn’t a “blog” I don’t know what disqualifies it… The only real difference now is that most users don’t “dial-in” to a specific number to get at a specific “blog”.

    Rob

  3. Robert, you really need to stop this blogging hype! Sheesh!

    Dave Winer certainly isn’t one of my favorite techno-geeks simply because our “politics” clash (and my posts magically disappear). BUT, I give credit where credit is do, and Mr. Winer deserves it.

    BR,

    Robert

  4. Rob: yeah, I guess it depends how you define blogging. If it’s just text on an electronic page that’s in reverse-chronological view, then blogging started a lot earlier than 10 years ago.

    If you needed a content management system to do a blog, well, then, it started with Manila and Blogger and other tools in the late 1990s.

    To me blogging really started in the late 1990s, but Dave Winer was among the first, if not the first. To say that Jorn was among the first, though, is just wrong.

  5. Rob: yeah, I guess it depends how you define blogging. If it’s just text on an electronic page that’s in reverse-chronological view, then blogging started a lot earlier than 10 years ago.

    If you needed a content management system to do a blog, well, then, it started with Manila and Blogger and other tools in the late 1990s.

    To me blogging really started in the late 1990s, but Dave Winer was among the first, if not the first. To say that Jorn was among the first, though, is just wrong.

  6. Robert, you really need to stop this blogging hype! Sheesh!

    Dave Winer certainly isn’t one of my favorite techno-geeks simply because our “politics” clash (and my posts magically disappear). BUT, I give credit where credit is do, and Mr. Winer deserves it.

    BR,

    Robert

  7. The way that blogging is defined today, Justin Hall was clearly the first blogger on the web at http://www.links.net. If your definition of blog is a site that had a syndication feed (and I don’t think you should), it would be someone/something else.

  8. The way that blogging is defined today, Justin Hall was clearly the first blogger on the web at http://www.links.net. If your definition of blog is a site that had a syndication feed (and I don’t think you should), it would be someone/something else.

  9. Has anyone ever definitively defined a blog? I know there has been many discussions/posts on the topic but have never seen anything that’s agreed upon. It’s kind of like Web-2.0. It’s hard to write history if no one actually knows what’s what.

  10. Has anyone ever definitively defined a blog? I know there has been many discussions/posts on the topic but have never seen anything that’s agreed upon. It’s kind of like Web-2.0. It’s hard to write history if no one actually knows what’s what.

  11. I thought it was “web log” – that would mean as long as you’re journal is accessible via the net (http, ftp, gopher, etc), it’s a blog.

    BTW… I didn’t intend for my first post to sound so harsh. I just meant that my opinion clashes too much with Dave’s. I’m sure he’s a great guy.

  12. I thought it was “web log” – that would mean as long as you’re journal is accessible via the net (http, ftp, gopher, etc), it’s a blog.

    BTW… I didn’t intend for my first post to sound so harsh. I just meant that my opinion clashes too much with Dave’s. I’m sure he’s a great guy.

  13. As far as I can tell, modern “mainstream journalism” basically consists of reproducing a press release, writing a introduction and conclusion and pressing the “go’ button.

    Modern Mainstream Journalism is a disgrace.

  14. As far as I can tell, modern “mainstream journalism” basically consists of reproducing a press release, writing a introduction and conclusion and pressing the “go’ button.

    Modern Mainstream Journalism is a disgrace.

  15. Nailed – replace “mainstream journalism” with the word “blogging”, and you’ll find that your sentence still holds.

    No medium is perfect, and I think it is unfair to characterize all bloggers or all mainstream media writers with one broad brush.

    Cheers!
    Kirupa

  16. Nailed – replace “mainstream journalism” with the word “blogging”, and you’ll find that your sentence still holds.

    No medium is perfect, and I think it is unfair to characterize all bloggers or all mainstream media writers with one broad brush.

    Cheers!
    Kirupa

  17. I’ve always credited Justin Hall in 1996 (not 1994 as some sources do) as he beat Dave Winer by a matter of weeks on the first blog as we know blogs to be..ie chronological, dated posts. Dave is the father of the blogging CMS, RSS and a whole pile of other things though…and lol that Barger was using his CMS! proves the WSJ as being even MORE wrong.

  18. I’ve always credited Justin Hall in 1996 (not 1994 as some sources do) as he beat Dave Winer by a matter of weeks on the first blog as we know blogs to be..ie chronological, dated posts. Dave is the father of the blogging CMS, RSS and a whole pile of other things though…and lol that Barger was using his CMS! proves the WSJ as being even MORE wrong.

  19. Reading though the comments and other blogs & comments, I have started to get a feeling that the definition of blog could soon be Best Links Of Gossips ;-)

  20. Reading though the comments and other blogs & comments, I have started to get a feeling that the definition of blog could soon be Best Links Of Gossips ;-)

  21. My friend Doug Palermo began writing a web journal in July of 1995, called the Weekly Whack:

    http://www.joehewitt.com/feff/whacks/

    I never really considered the Whack to be “the first blog”, but now that I am seeing everybody dating the first blogs as Justin Hall and Dave Winer in 1996 it occurs to me that Doug had them beat by a full six months. What Doug lacked that Justin and Dave had is that he was not a connected insider, just a high school kid in New Jersey. He should really get more credit.

    I wrote a little more about this on my blog:

    http://www.joehewitt.com/blog/origins_of_blog.php

  22. My friend Doug Palermo began writing a web journal in July of 1995, called the Weekly Whack:

    http://www.joehewitt.com/feff/whacks/

    I never really considered the Whack to be “the first blog”, but now that I am seeing everybody dating the first blogs as Justin Hall and Dave Winer in 1996 it occurs to me that Doug had them beat by a full six months. What Doug lacked that Justin and Dave had is that he was not a connected insider, just a high school kid in New Jersey. He should really get more credit.

    I wrote a little more about this on my blog:

    http://www.joehewitt.com/blog/origins_of_blog.php

  23. Don’s right – Justin, Dave, and Jorn may have been the first “blog celebrities” but they certainly weren’t the first bloggers. Whoever was truly the first has been long forgotten.

  24. Don’s right – Justin, Dave, and Jorn may have been the first “blog celebrities” but they certainly weren’t the first bloggers. Whoever was truly the first has been long forgotten.

  25. I had a “blog” in 1995.

    At the time Compuserve was threatening to charge for licensing to use the GIF format. This was becoming a controversial issue, and I set up a website to link to the latest happenings on the issue.

    The site had a reverse-chronological list on the front pages, with some titles linking to separate pages and others being direct links elsewhere. It was updated several times a day, and I got a bunch of calls from journalists – I was interviewed twice on the subject by British magazines.

    Sadly, it wasn’t called a “blog” or a “weblog” and was hand-edited HTML, and it didn’t stay online for long, so I can’t prove it ever existed. But it wasn’t the first page of its kind anyway.

    Bloggers too often think they invented the Web, but I’ve had sites online since 1994 (complete with reverse-chronological “what’s new” pages) so I still think of blogs as a relatively recent phenomenon.

    Frankly, if I were the first blogger, I wouldn’t take credit for it either – there’s a lot about what blogs have become that I wouldn’t be proud of at all.

  26. I had a “blog” in 1995.

    At the time Compuserve was threatening to charge for licensing to use the GIF format. This was becoming a controversial issue, and I set up a website to link to the latest happenings on the issue.

    The site had a reverse-chronological list on the front pages, with some titles linking to separate pages and others being direct links elsewhere. It was updated several times a day, and I got a bunch of calls from journalists – I was interviewed twice on the subject by British magazines.

    Sadly, it wasn’t called a “blog” or a “weblog” and was hand-edited HTML, and it didn’t stay online for long, so I can’t prove it ever existed. But it wasn’t the first page of its kind anyway.

    Bloggers too often think they invented the Web, but I’ve had sites online since 1994 (complete with reverse-chronological “what’s new” pages) so I still think of blogs as a relatively recent phenomenon.

    Frankly, if I were the first blogger, I wouldn’t take credit for it either – there’s a lot about what blogs have become that I wouldn’t be proud of at all.

  27. Have you forgotten that the Wall Street Journal is known as the Republican Bible. It is filled with fraud(intentional misrepresentation of the truth). Have you forgotten the lies we were told before going to our most recent war. Try reading the editorial page. With its disregard for the truth, are you really amazed that they got blogging history wrong.

  28. Have you forgotten that the Wall Street Journal is known as the Republican Bible. It is filled with fraud(intentional misrepresentation of the truth). Have you forgotten the lies we were told before going to our most recent war. Try reading the editorial page. With its disregard for the truth, are you really amazed that they got blogging history wrong.

  29. Has any one thought to, you know, *email* the journalist involved asking him what his source for that was? You know – before someone’s tarred and feathered in public, it might be an idea to at least ask them a couple of questions?

  30. Has any one thought to, you know, *email* the journalist involved asking him what his source for that was? You know – before someone’s tarred and feathered in public, it might be an idea to at least ask them a couple of questions?

  31. Trying to pinpoint the start of blogging and who it was started by is kind of pointless if you ask me. It has certainly been around since before the late 90′s, and you don’t even have to reach back to BBS’s or “stretch” the definition of a modern blog for that.

    I guess I could see if someone wanted to look around for who has been blogging the longest, but that’s entirely different then who was blogging first. You’re going to constantly be faced with people saying “Yeah, but [so-and-so] was doing [slight-deviation of whatever you just mentioned] a year or two before that!”

  32. Trying to pinpoint the start of blogging and who it was started by is kind of pointless if you ask me. It has certainly been around since before the late 90′s, and you don’t even have to reach back to BBS’s or “stretch” the definition of a modern blog for that.

    I guess I could see if someone wanted to look around for who has been blogging the longest, but that’s entirely different then who was blogging first. You’re going to constantly be faced with people saying “Yeah, but [so-and-so] was doing [slight-deviation of whatever you just mentioned] a year or two before that!”

  33. I remember when I first heard the word “blogging.” My reaction was: “we’ve been doing that for years.”

    I think the main hype started with wordpress, blogger, blogspot, livejournal, etc. Before that there was newspro (or coranto) but that required some perl hacking to get running.

    Before that, blogging required your own domain and hosting, and knowing how to write some perl or PHP.

    If you ask me, those days were a lot better. Having to put so much time into it ensured that only those who really truly had something to say blogged. It eliminated a lot of the noise that fill the blogosphere today.

    of course this “word hype” happens with everything. It happened with AJAX. AJAX was nothing new, somebody just gave it a clever name and it took off. It’s happening now with iPhone applications. They’re just websites formatted to fit a small screen.

  34. I remember when I first heard the word “blogging.” My reaction was: “we’ve been doing that for years.”

    I think the main hype started with wordpress, blogger, blogspot, livejournal, etc. Before that there was newspro (or coranto) but that required some perl hacking to get running.

    Before that, blogging required your own domain and hosting, and knowing how to write some perl or PHP.

    If you ask me, those days were a lot better. Having to put so much time into it ensured that only those who really truly had something to say blogged. It eliminated a lot of the noise that fill the blogosphere today.

    of course this “word hype” happens with everything. It happened with AJAX. AJAX was nothing new, somebody just gave it a clever name and it took off. It’s happening now with iPhone applications. They’re just websites formatted to fit a small screen.

  35. What about Good Morning Silicon Valley? I personally read it for 8 years until Packzowski left for All Things Digital. And I know it’s been around for a lot longer than that. If it wasn’t one of the first blogs, it was certainly very early. It also may have been the first tech news blog. And it was created by The Mercury News, which shows that some in MSM really do get it and got it long before a lot of other people.

  36. What about Good Morning Silicon Valley? I personally read it for 8 years until Packzowski left for All Things Digital. And I know it’s been around for a lot longer than that. If it wasn’t one of the first blogs, it was certainly very early. It also may have been the first tech news blog. And it was created by The Mercury News, which shows that some in MSM really do get it and got it long before a lot of other people.

  37. I remember messages on the public city bulletin boards that you would call with a local number on my commodore 64. They were public computer news announcements by the BBS operator, and thus they were blogging.

    This was about in 1985 or 86. city dial in bulletin boards always had a news section that was regularly updated. This was in effect the first version of blogs.

  38. I remember messages on the public city bulletin boards that you would call with a local number on my commodore 64. They were public computer news announcements by the BBS operator, and thus they were blogging.

    This was about in 1985 or 86. city dial in bulletin boards always had a news section that was regularly updated. This was in effect the first version of blogs.

  39. I went to college with Justin Hall at Swarthmore and he used to recruit students who were studying on the lawn –like a rabid leader of a political party– to go take his free workshops in the computer science department, and learn what the web was “the beginning of real democracy…” He was a complete nut, but a passionate nut; only, you didn’t want to get too close to him for fear that details of the most personal nature would appear the next hour on his site. Doug Block directed a HBO documentary about him -which now seems ridiculously dated- called Home Page.

    For me one of the most startling things about Justin’s work was the intimate point of view and how he wrote and photographed (and eventually video taped) his daily life. The “reverse chronological order/dated posts” attribute is important, but I think that personal “point of view” aspect is critical to the definition of a blog: while it’s expanded in scope, most are still opinion journalism, and independent viewpoints –not a directory of press releases or corporate-controlled information.

    People may argue with me on this, but if independence wasn’t part of the expectation of blogs, then no one should have a problem with the pay-per-post guys, the people ready microsoft campaign that FM got involved with…or the censorship rant about creative cow’s post-deletion. If it was just dated posts, more sites/services would apply and the issues of transparency, sources and viewpoints would be less controversial.

  40. I went to college with Justin Hall at Swarthmore and he used to recruit students who were studying on the lawn –like a rabid leader of a political party– to go take his free workshops in the computer science department, and learn what the web was “the beginning of real democracy…” He was a complete nut, but a passionate nut; only, you didn’t want to get too close to him for fear that details of the most personal nature would appear the next hour on his site. Doug Block directed a HBO documentary about him -which now seems ridiculously dated- called Home Page.

    For me one of the most startling things about Justin’s work was the intimate point of view and how he wrote and photographed (and eventually video taped) his daily life. The “reverse chronological order/dated posts” attribute is important, but I think that personal “point of view” aspect is critical to the definition of a blog: while it’s expanded in scope, most are still opinion journalism, and independent viewpoints –not a directory of press releases or corporate-controlled information.

    People may argue with me on this, but if independence wasn’t part of the expectation of blogs, then no one should have a problem with the pay-per-post guys, the people ready microsoft campaign that FM got involved with…or the censorship rant about creative cow’s post-deletion. If it was just dated posts, more sites/services would apply and the issues of transparency, sources and viewpoints would be less controversial.

  41. I did use Userland Frontier, but I had to rewrite the macros in the ‘newspage suite’ to fit my own style, so I wasn’t just imitating Dave’s definitions. Dave has never followed strict reverse order, he’s always featured Userland-related news items at the top of each daily entry. I abstracted the ‘logging links’ function, emphasizing the importance of keeping the newest links always at the very top, and that’s what the term should really mean. 99% of people who use the term ‘blog’ have no idea that logging links is what it’s really about.

  42. I did use Userland Frontier, but I had to rewrite the macros in the ‘newspage suite’ to fit my own style, so I wasn’t just imitating Dave’s definitions. Dave has never followed strict reverse order, he’s always featured Userland-related news items at the top of each daily entry. I abstracted the ‘logging links’ function, emphasizing the importance of keeping the newest links always at the very top, and that’s what the term should really mean. 99% of people who use the term ‘blog’ have no idea that logging links is what it’s really about.

  43. Who cares? Seriously… the constant mutual masturbatory practices of that entire circle of people makes me sick. I did online picture sharing and journaling in 1997. What do I win?

    These guys may have created a name for it, but give them credit for the name, not for inventing something countless others were already doing.

  44. Who cares? Seriously… the constant mutual masturbatory practices of that entire circle of people makes me sick. I did online picture sharing and journaling in 1997. What do I win?

    These guys may have created a name for it, but give them credit for the name, not for inventing something countless others were already doing.

  45. According to Dave Winer (here http://oldweblogscomblog.scripting.com/historyOfWeblogs) “The first weblog was the first website, http://info.cern.ch/“, I would have to agree (to an extent) that this is the first weblog. I kept a “weblog” for a very short time back in the early 90′s and hosted it on my PC so people I knew online could see what sites I had found and liked. The entries were chronological and displayed in reverse-chrono order. Now – my weblog was basic HTML and was stored locally on my machine (so only available when I was online) This is not “blogging” as we currently know it however (unfortunately *grin*). Justin Hall is definitely the first “blogger” (IMHO).

  46. According to Dave Winer (here http://oldweblogscomblog.scripting.com/historyOfWeblogs) “The first weblog was the first website, http://info.cern.ch/“, I would have to agree (to an extent) that this is the first weblog. I kept a “weblog” for a very short time back in the early 90′s and hosted it on my PC so people I knew online could see what sites I had found and liked. The entries were chronological and displayed in reverse-chrono order. Now – my weblog was basic HTML and was stored locally on my machine (so only available when I was online) This is not “blogging” as we currently know it however (unfortunately *grin*). Justin Hall is definitely the first “blogger” (IMHO).

  47. “If I remember my history right Jorn was using software developed by Dave Winer to do his blog.”

    Winer is now taking credit for developing plain text and HTML? Wow!

  48. “If I remember my history right Jorn was using software developed by Dave Winer to do his blog.”

    Winer is now taking credit for developing plain text and HTML? Wow!

  49. What about the ancient Sumerians? They were making weblogs well before anyone else. Hammurabi was the first blogger.

    This is silly. Jorn Barger gets credit because he coined the term weblog and his was about the links, not some kind of update page.

  50. What about the ancient Sumerians? They were making weblogs well before anyone else. Hammurabi was the first blogger.

    This is silly. Jorn Barger gets credit because he coined the term weblog and his was about the links, not some kind of update page.

  51. At least your caveating it as “the kind of blogging I was involved in”. Too often you (and others) mistake your limited circle of friends for the web as a whole. There are entire enclaves of people who were blogging before Winer and who have never heard of either of you.

  52. At least your caveating it as “the kind of blogging I was involved in”. Too often you (and others) mistake your limited circle of friends for the web as a whole. There are entire enclaves of people who were blogging before Winer and who have never heard of either of you.

  53. Which brings us back around to the point. Blogs weren’t a new idea, just a new way of organizing, presenting, and (with RSS) distributing stuff that had been going on for a number of years.

    For my two cents, anyone remember Robert Sideman’s Online Insider?

  54. Which brings us back around to the point. Blogs weren’t a new idea, just a new way of organizing, presenting, and (with RSS) distributing stuff that had been going on for a number of years.

    For my two cents, anyone remember Robert Sideman’s Online Insider?

  55. @25 “What about the ancient Sumerians? They were making weblogs well before anyone else. Hammurabi was the first blogger.”

    C’mon! You know as well as I do that according to Scoble and Winer, communication didn’t exist before the invention of the internet.

  56. @25 “What about the ancient Sumerians? They were making weblogs well before anyone else. Hammurabi was the first blogger.”

    C’mon! You know as well as I do that according to Scoble and Winer, communication didn’t exist before the invention of the internet.

  57. @31 Aahh yes, “Hwy 17 Page of Shame”, one of my early favorites.

    Everyone knows that Justin Hall started the modern blog and Jorn Barber coined the phase blog. We know it’s true because Wikipedia says so ;-)

  58. @31 Aahh yes, “Hwy 17 Page of Shame”, one of my early favorites.

    Everyone knows that Justin Hall started the modern blog and Jorn Barber coined the phase blog. We know it’s true because Wikipedia says so ;-)

  59. For me, the first blog that was remained in my consciousness was Magdalena Donea’s online journal, which I believe dates back to 1994.

    There was a chronology, there were tidbit insights and personal revelations, all fleshed out with quotidian detail (e.g., “I am listening to…”).

  60. For me, the first blog that was remained in my consciousness was Magdalena Donea’s online journal, which I believe dates back to 1994.

    There was a chronology, there were tidbit insights and personal revelations, all fleshed out with quotidian detail (e.g., “I am listening to…”).

  61. this seems to be a heavy situation. I think if you aren’t the founder or the one who started blogs then you wouldn’t know the history. However i think you have a battle on your hands but if you feel this way its ok to argue your case because I do it all the time, but its hard for me because people don’t understand me. last but not least argue for what you believe in.

  62. this seems to be a heavy situation. I think if you aren’t the founder or the one who started blogs then you wouldn’t know the history. However i think you have a battle on your hands but if you feel this way its ok to argue your case because I do it all the time, but its hard for me because people don’t understand me. last but not least argue for what you believe in.