This is from the online version of a paper being presented at Hypertext09.
I already knew the general shape of the history, and I’m not sure that the author is actually providing us with a new take or a new insight (the introduction simply establishes the facts, rather than emphasizing how a new archival discovery, historical or critical approach, or point of view shapes and organizes those facts). Nevertheless, I was impressed with the references that carefully walk through events from the dawn of the blogosphere.
Today’s blogosphere with its wealth of discursive practices is, in Jay Bolter’s phrase, a writing space.
It did not start this way. The blogosphere had an immediate historical
predecessor, the weblog community, in which the weblog held a
rhetorically ambiguous and contested status between a writing space
that answered an author’s expressive needs and an access structure
through which an editor was meant to aggregate and annotate the Web’s
undiscovered riches. The conflict between access structure and writing
space appears under a number of different names in the writings of
Rebecca Blood, the weblog community’s foremost apologist and
chronicler, who describes it as an antagonism that split the community
at its core: those who, like herself, believed that weblogs performed a
“valuable filtering function” and aimed to be “dependable sources of links to reliably interesting material”:54
increasingly found themselves opposed to – and outnumbered by – an
“influx of short-form diarists” who wouldn’t link but posted “entry
after entry of blurts and personal observations,”:149 thus “inverting the primary values of the community.”:154 — Rudolph Ammann