How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters
By Scott Rosenberg
In late January of 2001, in the depths of the dot-com crash,
a San Francisco startup called Pyra Labs ran out of money.
Its staff departed. The co-founder of the company, a young
Nebraskan named Evan Williams, decided to make a go of it
alone. He scraped together $40,000 in new funding and moved
Pyra’s servers into his apartment. This permitted the company’s
100,000 registered customers (and counting) to keep using
Pyra’s service, Blogger, to publish their online journals,
A year later, Blogger had 700,000 subscribers. Whether sharing
cookie recipes or commenting on weapons reports from Iraq,
those writers were constructing a significant new form of
grassroots media. Blogging turned traditional publishing on
its head, allowing anyone with a computer and modem (or even
a smartphone) to gain a global voice for free.
By 2003, Williams was able to sell his business to Google for
a lucrative pile of pre-IPO stock. Three years later he and
his partners launched yet another tool for global publishing,
the micro-blogging phenomenon, Twitter. Williams’ story is
just one thread in the narrative of Say Everything, Scott
Rosenberg’s account of the blogging revolution. Rosenberg,
co-founder of the online magazine Salon.com, describes a
remarkable chapter in the history of communication.