A Quick History of the Blog
How Blogging is becoming the new way to communicate with the consumer
“Once a hobby for writers on the Internet, blogging has evolved over the years into a mature strategy with incredible platforms that now support enterprise corporations. Blogging has every element needed to develop a great online presence. Blogging is an exceptional strategy for search engine optimization as well as a solid social media strategy for businesses to safely engage in” – Corporate Blogging for Dummies
The Internet has created a world where reporting the news, posting an opinion, or searching for information depends only on how fast you can type and the speed of your connection. However, the fact that the information is easier to find also means that the information is easier to create. Traditionally, headlines have been published in newspapers that have earned a right to be considered legitimate information only after years of experience. Within in the last few years, a transition has taken place. Now online presence has solidified itself as an absolutely necessary way to connect with readers and consumers. While there are many ways to create this presence online through sites like Facebook and Twitter, the one that has the potential to build the strongest and long-lasting relationships is the blog. And the number of years of experience required to write a successful blog are extremely minimal compared to those to write for a powerful newspaper. This means that the opportunity to have a strong impact on readers is now extended to the masses and instant communication is open to anyone with a computer. Blogging provides the content creator with opportunities to communicate with the target market in a way that was never possible with traditional media through the ability to target a highly specified group of people and provide them with detailed and relevant information at high speeds.
According to Clive Thompson, blogging was born January 1994 by a Swarthmore College student named Justin Hall. His site, initially titled, Justin’s Links from the Underground, was focused on guiding the reader through the Internet and then eventually transformed into a documentation of his life. What we call sites like these has developed as well. In 1997, the term “Weblog” was first coined in reference to “logging the web.” Two years later in 1999, the term was shorted to the now common “Blog.” Since then Technoranti, one of the major websites that tracks, rates, and helps identify blogs, was overwhelmed by the millions of blogs in the blogosphere. Originally citing an estimated 112.8 million blogs in 2008 (over 200 million today), publisher Eric Olsen noted that it has becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a static definition of a blog: “It’s become almost impossible to distinguish what’s a blog from a blog site. There are hybrid sites of blogs and news, and mainstream.” This transformation of blogs has lent to their growing power in the news and consumer industries.
Currently, blogs are continuing to gain legitimacy in the news industry. What initially started out as a place to post personal thoughts and reflections currently has the potential to be a serious place where consumers look for reliable news reports, product reviews, and corporate updates. The closest print counterpart to a blog is a newspaper. The communication goals and methods of a blog and of a newspaper have an interesting relationship. Where, traditionally there was be big offices filled with reporters chasing down the latest stories covering a wide range of topics, now there are home offices with smaller teams focusing on a specific segment of the news and reporting it quicker. Newspapers went to print, blogs are published with the click of a button. Newspapers required years of experience to become a reporter, blogs do not require an experience to publish articles. In relation to communication goals, newspapers look to report the latest news at a sophisticated reading level to the general public. Generally, the only demographic that is considered as a target market is location; either the newspaper is a local paper or it is a national paper. However, with blogs, subject can range from general to extremely specific. This gives the blogger the ability to post more articles with more details about a specific topic and focus on a very small target market of people who are looking for that information.
Initially, the fact that the masses had opportunity to create a blog was viewed as reason to argue that it is was not worth reading because the information that they provided was not legitimate news reporting. Now that the Internet has solidified itself as part of everyday life, people are looking for more ways to find information and news online and after years of practice, bloggers have developed techniques to signify to readers that what they are writing is accurate and important. At the most basic level, blogging is all about strategy. Building a brand’s reputation through a blog is about leveraging the power of social media marketing to foster an online presence that connects with the target market in a way that is beneficial to both the blogger and the consumers. Blogs are about interaction. Unlike newspapers which are important in transferring information from one person to the masses, blogs are providing information in a format that fosters a growing relationship between the brand and the consumer while sparking consumer cyber word of mouth communication as well.
Next, I will discuss in brief the different forms of communication available on the internet and why the blog should be the center of your online strategy.