INLS 281: Internet Issues & Future Initiatives
Jean Ferguson
March 31, 2003

"18. To solve an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you."
Raymond, Eric. The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

  Introduction Meta
  Definition War
  History Journalism
  Companies Library
  Ratings Multimedia
  Notable Interesting



I like storytelling. I especially love to hear people’s stories of their lives. I’m an avid listener of This American Life on National Public Radio, attendee of book readings and am currently taking a Folklore class in the Oral Narrative.

I’ve also worked in the IT industry for over ten years and have had a computer connected to the Internet as an integral part of my job.

Knowing this, it is surprising to me that I hadn’t come across blogs sooner than January of this year.

And in finding out what a blog is, I can say definitively that blogs are addictive. Once you read the first (shall we say gateway) blog, it leads you down the referential path of searching for more and better blogs.

This fascination has led me to explore the facets of blogging including: the nature of community; interactivity; microcontent as a form of communication; the need for faster information; social capital gained via reference and association; profitablity; and elements of personal exposure, anonymity and voyeurism.

Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital: the rise of the net generation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

There's a whole generation entering their 20's who never knew life before cable, nor schools without computers. It is natural for them to adapt to technology quicker and to develop uses that were never thought of in their invention. Tapscott proposes that this generation will watch less television, preferring the content control and manipulation of video games and the internet to 'push' only technologies.



The Webopedia lists blog as:

(n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly-accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

Generally, but not always, the postings

Most blogs are online daily accounts of one person's activities and thoughts. However, as blogs have grown in popularity, many themes have been created.

Rodzvilla, John. We've Got Blog: how weblogs are changing our culture. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2002.

Introduction by Rebecca Blood, this is a collection of excerpts from 'A-List' blog entries all about blogging.



The term weblog was first coined by Jorn Barger, creator of Robot Wisdom, in December 1997 as a name for a list of links compiled on one site. In December of 1999, according to Jesse James Garrett, editor of Infosift, 23 blogs had been created as of the beginning of 1999. More and more blogs appeared and soon their was a weblog community, all reading eachother's blogs. Bloggers began to list links to blogs of their friends and ones that they read. This became the blogroll.

In July 1999, the first free blog building application was launched by In August 1999, Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan, of Pyra, launched, their free homegrown online journal application. Other applications followed. By 2000, there were thousands of weblogs and today, there are millions.

In February 2003, Google bought Blogger, giving blogs a market force credibility.

For more detailed information on the history of blogs, please refer to:

Weblogs: a history and perspective
Blogging 101: An introduction to reading and writing a weblog, by Anton Zuiker, UNC JOMC Masters Student

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: how little things can make a big difference. Boston: Little Brown, 2000.

A book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. The Tipping Point suggests that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease.



UserLand Radio

Locke, Christopher; Levine, Rick; Searls, Doc; Weinberger, David. The Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000.

The internet (and blogs) allows us to have people to people communication as opposed to marketing slogans and spinned commentary.

The Cluetrain Manifesto began as a web site in 1999 when the authors posted 95 theses that pronounced what they felt was the new reality of the networked marketplace. The entire text of Cluetrain is available free online.



One of the key aspects of blogs are their referentiality. Through blogrolls (lists of links on one side of a blog), bloggers are able to highlight the blogs they read, like and want to refer. This is where the 'crack' aspect gets out of hand. In finding a blog representing an opinion or idea that you're drawn to, it is easy to look at their list of links, which brings up further blogrolls. I think the crack reference is probably making more sense now.

There are several sites that have set up blog ranking indices. The three most popular are listed below:

Technorati Top 100: Ranked list of most linked-to blogs
Daypop: A current events search engine that crawls the web to display the latest information relevant to your searches
Blogdex: Created by MIT Media Labs, it spiders out and creates ranked lists of most popular blog links



There are bloggers who have gained social capital through the popularity of their blogs. Some have created applications, such as Blogger, become known due to their authority in a certain topic or written books. In no way is the list below, nor any of these lists of links, comprehensive. They are merely names that I ran across repeatedly, or found salient to our discussion.

Paul Bausch: - the blog by the Co-creator of Blogger
Rebecca Blood
Matt Haughey: List of blogs and sites created by the founder of MetaFilter
Meg Hourihan: Co-founder of Pyra, the parent company of Blogger
Jason Kottke
Lawrence Lee: Tomalak's Realm - daily links to strategic web design news
Lawrence Lessig
InstaPundit: Glenn Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee
Eric Raymond
Glenn Reynolds: A blog for MSNBC on technology, culture, politics and the law
Doc Searls: Co-writer of the Cluetrain Manifesto
Biz Stone
Evan Williams: Co-founder of Blogger
Dave Winer: Scripting News - one of the earliest weblogs

Lewis, Michael. Next: the future just happened. New York: Norton, 2001.

Lewis examines social phenomena that the Internet has contributed to, such as the redistribution of prestige and authority and the increased need for knowledge exchange.



Due to the millions of blogs available, there are blogs which have become aggregators of other blogs or methods of filtering all that is available.

Boing Boing
Eatonweb Portal

Bausch, Paul; Haughey, Matthew; Hourihan, Meg. We Blog: publishing online with weblogs. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2002

- Paul Bausch is the co-creator of Blogger.
- Matthew Haughey started the community weblog
- Meg Hourihan is the cofounder of Pyra.

This book is a history and practical guide to blogging. The conversation that the book begins is continued at Blogroots.



There has been a lot of media coverage on the use of blogs in covering the war with Iraq. Chris Albritton from Back-to-Iraq was able to raise approximately $11,000 to travel to Turkey to cover the battle.







Shifted Librarian



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