History Software Engineering

The Word “Blog” is Coined – 1999 AD

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Blog Is Coined

Jorn Barger (b. 1953), Peter Merholz (dates unavailable), Evan Clark Williams (b. 1972)

“In 1997, cyberspace was an increasingly viable and attractive outlet for humans to do what they have always done—communicate personal opinions and ideas, broadcast their expertise, and share sources of interesting information with others. Active users of the World Wide Web collectively contributed to an ever-increasing volume of online material that covered every topic imaginable.

The origin of the word blog started with essayist and active Usenet contributor Jorn Barger, who came up with the word weblog to describe the logging and curating of links he discovered and routinely attached to his website, Robot Wisdom. Then in April or May of 1999, designer Peter Merholz on his website put the following note in the sidebar of the page: “For What It’s Worth I’ve decided to pronounce the word ‘weblog’ as [‘]wee’-blog. Or ‘blog’ for short.” Merholz started using his newly coined word in his posts; other people did too.

A few months later, Pyra Labs released Blogger® software for creating weblogs, this time with the word blog used by Evan Williams, the company’s cofounder. Blogger was immensely successful—Google acquired Blogger and Pyra Labs in 2003. Blogger’s success helped institutionalize the word and format, and it provided a new self-publishing tool people could use, in fact, to blog. Other popular platforms for publishing blogs, including WordPress® and Movable Type®, also got their start around this time.

So, who wrote the first “blog”? That depends upon how one defines blog—by the personalized content, the chronological format, the software that gives the content its look and feel . . . and so on. There were many prolific commentators and online diarists long before the word was coined. Some of these authors adopted the word blog as it was popularized, while others did not.

Regardless of who can legitimately claim credit for being the first blogger, a variety of factors influenced the popularity and usability of what is now defined as a blog. The genre has encouraged and enabled many individual voices around the world to be heard and to contribute to a global knowledge base. Oh, and in 2004, the editors at the Merriam-Webster chose blog as their favorite word of the year.”

SEE ALSO: Cyberspace Coined—and Re-Coined (1968), Usenet (1980), Desktop Publishing (1985)

Blogs allow individual voices around the world to be heard and to contribute to a global knowledge base.

Fair Use Sources: B07C2NQSPV

Merholz, Peter. “Play with Your Words.” petermescellany (website), May 17, 2002.

Wortham, Jenna. “After 10 Years of Blog, the Future’s Brighter than Ever.” Wired, December 17, 2007.