Because blogging gives everyone a platform to speak, it quickly became one of the most flamy ways to communicate on the net. Anyone who stood up was going to get a lot of attention, and by attention, I mean shit.
Bloggers are accessible. And bloggers tend to think everyone has a right to speak. And the trolls, and they were everywhere, took advantage of that.
We're no longer that naive. And blogging has natural defenses against trolling. If you want to speak, you can use your own soapbox. I don't have to share mine, if you aren't behaving. We use that feature now, we didn't use it so much before.
If we had the cloud technologies of today when the blogosphere started, we'd never have needed the silos. Today, I think silos serve a purpose, I don't want to see them go away. At the same time, we need a much stronger independent blogging world, for the art, the truth, and the software. We need room to experiment, and we need a place where we can say what we really see. There isn't enough of that.
2009: "Bloggers go first. If there's a blogger around you don't have to wait for a volunteer."
I am a programmer and a blogger. In both these roles, I like to go first. If there's a juicy idea out there to explore, I'm on it! That's the role I played in the birth of blogging, starting on October 7, 1994. All of a sudden it became clear that the way had opened for individual personal publishing. I wanted to figure out how it worked.
Because the power of the press belongs to people who have one, I realized how huge a change this was. Now publishing costs were zero. The only thing that stood in the way were basic practices for writers and programmers.
As Walter Isaacson points out, innovators need to be both humanitarians and scientists, we have to touch the human spirit, and be masters of the scientific method. In the bootstrap of blogging it was enormously important that I was both a writer and a programmer. We had to learn to write for this new medium, and we had to figure out how the software worked.
I was lucky in 1994 that I was completely free to explore, and that the world was ready to make this leap. So I began a trip, that led to something wonderful , every bit as big as I thought it might be back then.
So here we are deeply in the second 20 years. I have an idea I'm exploring, and with any luck it'll get us back on track in the personal ownership of the press. Let's have fun!
I know it's awkward for a journalist to be thanked for writing what they see. No thanks are necessary. When we write it's because we believe it's true, and it needs to be said. But sometimes a piece is so important, and so good, and has been so anxiously awaited, that you have to break out and say the words.
I don't think I've ever met John Naughton, but I am a fan of his writing. So many times I've read his pieces in the Guardian and thought, finally someone understands this, or finally someone is willing to say what needs to be said.
So it's very gratifying to get the first real unqualified recognition for my 20-year body of work in both prose and software, for the role it played in getting this new art going.