Oh Weblog Nostalgia… I may die…

In March 2000, I’d been a weblogger for about four months. Blogger itself wasn’t much older. The directory pages which tracked the start of each new public weblog are still up online and you can see new weblogs starting at the rate of one or two a day. The very first page on that directory contains the names that still conjure up the early weblogging experience to me – Evhead, Megnut and Onfocus, of course. But also Anil Dash,, Ethel the Blog,, Prehensile Tales, WrongWayGoBack, etc. etc. If you dig around a bit, I’m in that list too somewhere – the past subtly retroactively edited by me changing the name of my site from Barbelith to at a much later date…

This nascent community was in some ways not nascent at all – many of the people in that early weblogging space were just looking for a platform in which they could do something creative. In fact, I think maybe one aspect of Blogger’s initial success was how connected the initial webloggers were with earlier creative communities and individuals like Derek Powazek‘s fray and – in particular – Lance Arthur‘s epic – back at the time when you could make great things online even if you couldn’t program for shit.’s collection of wonderful web projects is completely lost now, unfortunately, but it was a space for many people eager to do something wonderful online. In a way, the early weblogging community was an extension – almost a sideline – of this community – a sideline that grew and grew to occupy not only much of our time, but also the time of many hundreds of thousands of other people… And in return, the communicative aspects of weblogging galvanised that community – exposing the people behind the projects, creating stated connections and creating genuine friendships, partnerships (and occasionally animosities).

A couple of days ago Meg linked through to a site which featured a quicktime movie of an amateur interview with the early Blogger crew. And all I kept thinking about when I watched it was how much I wanted to go to SXSW to meet them all back in March 2000, and how I couldn’t, and how much I wish I’d been able to. It was a fun time…

9 replies on “Oh Weblog Nostalgia… I may die…”

I was surprised at March 2002 also. I could almost (but not quite) swear that I’d come across the plasticbag name much earlier. Nice post, nevertheless. The Blogger startup files seem to stop about January 2001.

People’s guts, pain, ears and minds are just parts of the whole being, and often interlink. What of those with damaged (pained) minds?

Before there were weblogs, there was the Cabal™. And that was just an accumulation of sites that valued well-crafted writing. I trace it back to Maggy Donea, Alexis Massie, Leslie Harpold’s ‘Smug’, and its odd mirror-image the ‘teeny-bopper domain hoppers’ with tales of self-mutilation, teen poetry and Tori Amos lyrics, all wrapped in astonishingly good design. The fusion of those elements around a simple form contributed, I think, to the rise of the blog.
And yes, it was a fun time.

And, of course, these were just the people using Blogger. You also had the Winer folk, and the hand-coders (where I come in), and the other groups you mention. Obviously, the histories of blogging and Blogger are inextricably intertwined…but looking at Blogger’s listory doesn’t tell the whole story by far.

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