I’ve maintained this blog since the spring semester of 1999, though at the time I considered it an “annotated list of links.” Updating it meant editing the HTML by hand. Like Crichton’s dinosaurs, blogs have evolved into everyday things that we may not recognize as the powerful, conspicuous giants they once were. Blogs have evolved into the social media outlets where most of us (including me) do most of our online interaction. But Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are owned by someone else who profits from my labor, and who can, with a few lines of code, fundamentally change my experience without my consent.
I am, of course, dependent on WordPress, an ISP, and SHU’s technical support team, so it would be misleading for me to suggest I am some kind of rugged DIY individualist. Nevertheless, here are some thoughtful words that reflect on what blogging meant to those of us who were doing it back in the day.
We were aware that the practice of blogging upset many assumptions about who gets to speak, how we speak, and who is an authority. Although blogging is now taken for granted at best and can seem quaint at worst, we thought we were participating in a revolution. And we were somewhat right. The invisibility of the effects of blogging — what we take for granted — is a sign of the revolution’s success. The changes are real but not as widespread or deep as we’d hoped.
Of course, blogging was just one of mechanisms for delivering the promise of the Net that had us so excited in the first place. The revolution is incomplete. It is yet deeper than we usually acknowledge. —Joho the Blog » What blogging was.