A Decade of Blogging

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by Mike on 11/19/2009

in Best of Release, Perpetual Beta : Release, The Intarweb, Webloggia

We didn’t start the fire

How many people can say they were on the front lines of a revolution? Ten years ago, inspired by some pretty interesting people, I started a little blog. At that time, there were roughly three hundred webloggers in the world, and most of us knew each other. There were few enough that everyone knew when a new one started up.

Around that time, there were two camps of thought regarding weblogs: overly optimistic, and overly pessimistic. This quote sums both up nicely:

Weblogs are a “revolution.” They’re “journalism.” They’re “art.” They’re, again and again, the next New Thing. To which the only possible response can be: come on, people.

This is not to say that weblogs aren’t useful or fun. I read several every day, and have profited from the experience. I just love that Mahir guy.

But how can you not boggle at the level of self-delusion, of self-infatuation, it takes to declare that weblogs are going kill off traditional journalism? That the concept will be alive and well a decade from now? That weblog readership will increase a hundred-fold in that time? That they’re an art form?

Have weblogs “killed off” traditional journalism? Damned near. Is the concept alive and well ten years later? Hellooooo! Has readership increased a hundredfold? Closer to a millionfold. An art form? Well, you’ve got me there.

But clearly, we were on to something. And everyone else gradually caught on.

A new world order?

From 25-score bloggers to perhaps billions. Blogging has changed, and the world’s information flow will never be the same. But so, too, has the world changed over the last ten years. It’s fun to see some of the radical transformations:

Then: America’s first black president
Now: America’s first black president

Then: Waiting for the world to collapse
Now: Waiting for the world to collapse

Then: Evan Williams poised to take over the internet
Now: Evan Williams poised to take over the internet

Then: Toy Story 2 in theaters
Now: Toy Story 2 in theaters

Maybe not.

Well, maybe some things never change. But I feel pretty good about this: ten years from now, we’ll look back at 2009 and reflect on some of the things that did change, in ways we cannot even imagine today. And some of them? We might even call them “art.”

  • camworld

    Congrats.

  • http://perpetualbeta.com/release/ mikewas

    Cam, thanks!

    Last night while writing I made the mistake of going to “camworld.—” instead of .org and it wasn't at ALL what I expected! Glad to see you've still got the site up.

  • http://www.torontoscreenshots.com James McNally

    Congratulations Mike! It doesn't seem like that long ago, does it? My decade anniversary is officially July 7, 2010, but I'm sure I'm at a decade of reading blogs. Looking forward to my tenth SXSW too!

  • http://www.torontoscreenshots.com James McNally

    Congratulations Mike! It doesn't seem like that long ago, does it? My decade anniversary is officially July 7, 2010, but I'm sure I'm at a decade of reading blogs. Looking forward to my tenth SXSW too!

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