Our brief moment in the sun

A researcher, I’d call him a web historian, named Rudolf Ammann presented a paper at a conference in Turin earlier this year in which, it was claimed noted that some early gulker.com blog pages, in particular a page published in October 1997 play a role in the development of the weblog, aka blog. Rudolff also wrote this very nice summary of my days spent exploring practical uses for a new technology. We blush (even if we feel we need to clarify one issue regarding the San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994.)

In 1997 neither term – ‘weblog’ or ‘blog’ – existed. But Rudolf, with an amazing ability to focus on thousands of pages that he unearthed on the Wayback Machine (aka The Internt Archive) had dragged up my October 1997 archive of blog posts as the first ever page to exhibit a ‘blogroll,’ something I had then, hastily, christened the ‘NewsPage Network,’ after a (then new) feature in Dave Winer’s Frontier scripting-plus-database authoring environment.

Mind you, this is digital archeology, and, any day now, another credible researcher could unearth (unbyte? un-net?) an earlier precursor that showed ‘bloggish attributes.’ It’s sorta like that ‘Lucy’ thing over on the atom archeology side. But we’ll happily bask in our 10 seconds of fame… you did notice the reference in the paper, yes? Please say you did…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, Context, Technology, Weblogging. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Our brief moment in the sun

  1. Rudolf says:

    I claim no originality for the observation that Gulker.com’s Newspage Network was the first weblog listing. The observation was originally made by Jorn Barger in his Weblogs.Literate piece of, I believe, 31 July 1998.

    Of course there are ‘bloggish attributes’ to be found in places older than Gulker’s News Page, some of them emerging even before the invention of print. Some of these phenomena are discussed in Scott Rossenberg‘s excellent book on the history of blogging. However, consider Dan Lyke‘s take:

    it’s easy to go back to the early ’90s and find examples of online journals or lists of annotated links in chronological order, I think what made the 1998 through 2000 era interesting was the community that built up around these sites and the amount of cross-linking that happened in those eras.

    In this respect, the Newspage Network list, brought up to its final tally of fifteen links in February 1998, stands out as a milestone because it marks the point at which the scavenging for links was first conceived of and presented — if not yet extensively practiced — as a shared undertaking amongst a network of peers. Barger then ran with that concept.

    I’m completing some more work on this, which I hope to present soon.

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