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The History of the Blob

'The Blob' was a 1958 movie starring, unbelievably, Steve McQueen. In the movie an alien lifeform (not played by Steve McQueen) consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows…

Oh, no, wait. That was supposed to be 'The History of the Blog' – darn those pesky typos. Perhaps we'll talk about typos in another pots, I mean, post.

But what about blogs? The word is ubiquitous now, but it wasn't always so. Actually, pretty recently it wasn't so. 'Blog' is a truncation of 'weblog', a term coined in 1998 to name the new kind of on-line diaries that writers were starting to write in the still relatively new internet forum ('forum,' the marketplace or public square in an ancient Roman city. Interesting.). The first actual blog, though it was not called thus, is credited to a young man named Justin Hall, a college student who began keeping an on-line diary in 1994, called a personal home page, mainly in order to get his writing on-line.

The term 'blog' is now used as both a verb, 'to blog,' and a noun, as in, 'my blog.' Bloggers blog. Try saying that ten times fast.

Blogs follow the long literary tradition of diarists who recorded their thoughts and the events of their lives in literary fashion, often, though not always, with the goal of sharing these. Perhaps the most famous literary diarist was Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'Peeps'), who began his diary in 1660. From a website on famous diarists ( we see that Pepys'

words became an insight into London in the 1660s, detailing his jealousies, insecurities and his relationship with his wife and the other women he pursued. With his fondness for wine and plays and his passion for music, the diaries detail his day-to-day life across a period full of historic events, including the Great Fire of London and the Great Plague.

Virginia Wolfe kept a diary for twenty-five years in which she detailed life in the literary elite, including the breaking of sexual taboos.

Of course we are familiar with the heartbreaking diary of Anne Frank, written as she passed her teenage years in hiding from the Nazis.

It would be interesting in several decades, or centuries – if the internet survives - to analyze blogs from our current period to see what sociological insights and historical details they provide.

Nowadays blogging is not just an on-line form of diarizing. Bloggers advertise their professional services, their recipes, their childrearing stories and philosophies, and almost every other topic imaginable, in daily or weekly pithy postings that connect them to their clients, colleagues and friends.

As I hope to stay connected to you. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will read my books, too!

Till next time.

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