The Internet, and the software developed to run on it, has made it simple for
anyone to publish and distribute content. It has also made it simple for anyone to
access that content.
The realm of social media is about collaborating, generating content, sharing, and
most of all, connecting.
Blogs are probably the best-known example of social media. One of the earliest
online journals recorded washttp://www.links.net
, Justin Hall’s online diary, which
he kept for eleven years from 1994.Reyhan Harmanci, “Time to Get a Life—Pioneer
Blogger Justin Hall Bows Out at 31,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2005,
(accessed May 27, 2008). From the very first days of the
Internet, early adopters used it to create personal content.
These online diaries were referred to as “Weblogs,” for “Web” and “log,” but in
April or May of 1999, Peter Merholz unwittingly coined the term “blog” by adding
the following to the sidebar of his Web site peterme.com: “For What It’s Worth I’ve
decided to pronounce the word ‘weblog’ as wee’-blog. Or “blog” for short.”Peter
Merholz, “Play with Your Words,” peterme.com, May 17, 2002,
(accessed May 27, 2008).
Developers began creating tools that made it easier for anyone to start a blog.
Blogger, a popular blogging platform, was launched in August 1999 and acquired by
Google in 2003. In 2001, Wikipedia, probably the most well-known wiki, was created.
(A wiki is a simple Web site that can be edited in real time by a number of users.)
Technorati, which tracks blogs and tagged social media, was launched in 2002. As of
April 2008, Technorati was tracking 112.8 million blogs and noted in 2007 that 1.4
new blogs were being created every second.
Social media are not just about blogging, though, and several platforms that made
sharing other kinds of content easier have come to the fore. Flickr, the online
photo-sharing tool, was launched in February 2004 and bought by Yahoo! in June
By this stage, the social media buzzwords and neologisms were being picked up by
the mainstream press, and in 2004, the Merriam-Webster dictionary chose “blog” as
the word of the year.
Chapter 8 Social Media