A quick blog history lesson for tech bloggers

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The link bird

Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels linked to Marcelo Somer’s post about linkblogging:

So what’s going on? Slow news cycle in the summer? Maybe. But the link post is much more to blame. It was pioneered by John Gruber back in 04, and was one of the first forms of simple curation on the web – generally featuring a blockquote from an interesting part of a piece, and then linking directly back to the source.

Hackett comments:

The irony, of course, is that this is, itself, a “linked list” post.

No, the irony is that so many tech bloggers are so deeply unaware of the roots of their profession that they think linkblogging is new. It’s not. It’s where blogging *began *(or, at least, one of the places). For all Gruber’s talents, he did not pioneer this style of blogging. It existed long before Daring Fireball came to be.

I was doing it in 2003, but I was a latecomer, aping an attractive style. Andrew Sullivan was an early proponent, and a big influence on me, but his early archives are now gone. (This is the earliest around) If you want to see linkblogging emerge, try starting with the archives of Kottke from March 1998. 1998.

Gruber created the “linked list” style of making the headline URL of a linked list direct to the site he’s linking to, not the permalinked page for his post – but that’s a technical style change on top of a long-established medium.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.