The works and fragments listed below came about in the course of my PhD thesis on the emergence of blogging, submitted in October 2012, successfully defended in January 2013, and currently awaiting transformation into a book.
These two conference papers contain materials from the thesis:
- Hypertext 2009: Jorn Barger, the NewsPage Network, and the Emergence of the Weblog Community. This paper reports the finding that Jorn Barger masterminded the emergence of the original ‘weblog community’ from Chris Gulker’s ‘Newspage Network’, which was a very loose confederation of proto-weblogs patterned after the example of Dave Winer’s Scripting News.
- Didn’t make it into the paper for lack of space: ‘A Note on blogrolls‘
- A post-conference discussion that contains the seed of the follow-up paper: ‘More or less created weblogging‘
- Applications of Social Network Analysis 2010: Reciprocity, social curation and the emergence of blogging: A study in community formation. This paper builds on the previous one, working from a dataset of links between the original weblogs. It asserts that community formation was driven by the practice of link attribution, that is the crediting of ‘borrowed’ links to their source on other blogs.
- There’s a human-readable version of the data set available, as well as an earlier commentary on the data set and a preliminary writeup.
The data set that underlies the social network analysis is an obvious candidate for visualisation. At one point I was especially interested in the aspect of outlinks, so I produced a network graph that showed every outgoing link, with the network nodes sized proportionate to their outlink count. I have posted this rather big diagram as a bitmap graphic with a number of details. The vector-based pdf file might be preferable
A few fragments
- A collection of source materials on link attribution
- An incident that sheds light on the politics of link attribution: The Early Blogosphere and the Arts & Letters Daily
- The virtually unknown originator of blogging as a social medium: Chris Gulker, Web Publisher
- Michael Sippey: Zines, News Pages and Weblogs
- An early crisis of the blogosphere: Dan Gillmor, Derek Powazek and the weblog as writing space (I managed to dig up large portions of Dan Gillmor’s eJournal archives, previously presumed lost).
- HotWired was an influential web zine. The fifth version of its front page, introduced in May 1996, prefigured the blog interface. HotWired: The fifth iteration of the front door. Dave Winer came to adopt this interface with the launch of Scripting News on 1 February 1997 (this piece disproves the widely reported canard that Scripting News got started in April 1997)
Related Wikipedia articles
I’ve started or contributed to a few Wikipedia articles related to the emergence of blogging:
- Chris Gulker and the San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994
- Dave Winer, UserLand Software, Seybold Seminars and Craig Cline
- Jorn Barger, Raphael Carter, Jim Romenesko, Denis Dutton, Glenn Davis and Cool Site of the Day
A random list
This needs some structuring: