September 29, 2008

Scott Rosenberg Traces the Blogosphere’s Origins

Simon Owens was kind enough to let me know about his interview with Dreaming in Code author Scott Rosenberg on the MediaShift blog.

Dreaming in Code was one of the best books I read in 2007 and I'm really looking forward to next summer when Rosenberg publishes his forthcoming book on the history of blogs and blogging, the topic of the interview:

Speaking with Rosenberg about his book, I felt like we were discussing evolutionary biology. Rosenberg’s research goes beyond highlighting the earliest blogs, and slowly pieces its way through the primordial ooze of the Internet, tracing a line of websites in the early 1990s that first began taking on blog-like characteristics.

"Most of the people I’ve talked to, I’ve asked who had inspired them," he said. "Who were you reading when you decided to start blogging? To a certain point that becomes a harder and harder thing the further back you go. For instance, Justin Hall started his site in January 1994, before most of us had heard of the web. I asked him, 'Well, you’re one of the first bloggers, was there anyone out there who you were getting inspiration from?' And he pointed me to this other guy named Ranjit Bhatnagar who was keeping a site at in 1993. And, sure enough, it was a reverse chronological list of stuff he found on the web."

It sounds like it's going to be a great book. Rosenberg has interviewed over 100 bloggers for the book, which should give him a good feeling for what's going on. My only hope is that he doesn't stop at the obvious choices for blogging communities to feature -- technology and US political blogs -- and explores some of the more niche communities, like, for example, science blogs or library blogs. Even parenting or knitting blogs or anything, just to give his readership the idea that the blogospheres are incredibly diverse and vibrant rather than just technophilia and political ranting.

In any case, Rosenberg talks about the new book here and the MediaShift interview here.

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