Weekly Blog #10: War

Is seeing and reading about war in blogs a good thing or a bad thing? Should we have this much access to the front lines? My answer is YES, it is a good thing! Back in 2006 I was writing my undergrad thesis about journalism vs. blogs and during my research I read a book called Salam Pax: The Baghdad Blog. This book was published in 2003, based on the blog “Where is Raed?” I simply loved reading this book. I felt I shared the author`s problems as well.

During the beginning of the war in Iraq, I was doing another assignment about the war — I had to collect all the news about Iraq that I could find and write a report. However, reading all the news about the war was not exiting as reading the book. I was impressed with all the details in the blog and how I connected with the blogger`s words. I finished the book in one day, it was impossible to stop. I could not wait to see what was coming next. Once I finished the book I looked through my Iraq war articles and I could not connect to the articles the way I connected with the book. The articles seemed so superficial. Many times when I`m reading the news I don`t appreciate it; I feel that something is missing. And I don`t think I`m the only one who feels this way.

I strongly think that bloggers are sharing the same space with journalists. Many people now are turning their attention to the voices of bloggers instead of more conventional journalist. That is happening because in their own area of interest, the bloggers often know as much as if not more than the journalists. They also write as well, in many cases, but are more personal. Many times they have better access to information than the journalists. Better yet, they let readers participate in a faster way by posting comments on their blogs.

Of course you cannot just trust on the first blog you find. It`s important to dig and select from all the ones out there.

Here are two blogs about Iraq: Where is Raed? and Baghda Burning.


Weekly Blog #2 – Who was the first blogger?

Do you know that in 2004, “blog” was classified as the “word of the year” in the MerriamWebster dictionary?  That there are over 200,000,000 blogs?  But where did this blog idea started? I believe that there are many debates over who was the first blogger.

It is not an easy question. You can’t just, say, look who wrote the first blog in 1997. It’s somewhat more complex than that.

We have Justin Hall who in 1994 started to share deep details of his life on his personal website, links.net. At this time, we didn’t have the term “blog”. However, what his site was doing is pretty much what you see on blogs nowadays.

Then we have Jorn Barn, another person who had a big influenced in the blogosphere. He created the term “weblog” after playing around with the words web, link, list, and log. The name was to describe the process of “logging the web”. Peter Merholz later shortened the term “weblog” to “blog”.

In addition, I need to mention Dave Winer, the author of one of the oldest blogs, “Scripting News”.  He also offered free blog hosting on his site. Winer once said, “Everyone gets their own personal website. I want to help you do this.”

After all, it is complicated to say who the first blogger was. Looking to all these guys you easily see that all of them contributed to the existence of blogs. I vote for all of them as the first bloggers.

Enjoy the snow!