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18 interesting firsts
By Dave Winer on Tuesday, March 09, 2010 at 5:27 AM.

A picture named crumb.jpgI stumbled across this very interesting list of 18 firsts on the Internet. It's a good way to look at things. You could argue who invented what first, and you often get nowhere that way, because "invention" is such a poorly understood concept. Everyone's work builds on other people's. The guy who invented the car used a lot of other people's work to create something with four wheels and an engine. Did it have to have a steering wheel to be a car? We could argue about that, and that would change who the inventor was. permalink

It may be more useful to say who had the first car. Who drove it, and where did they go?  permalink

And on the Internet, there's no doubt, for example that Tim Berners-Lee had the first website. Unless someone else says they did. (Haven't heard anyone say that, btw.) permalink

I was glad to get credit for creating the first podcast.  permalink

Who wrote the first blog post? They give credit for that to Justin Hall (and mis-spell his name).  permalink

I wrote in the About page for that the first blog was also the first website. TBL's was a reverse-chronologic list of new websites. That's how central to the web I think blogs are. But if that wasn't the first blog, let's see Hall's first post, and decide if that really was the first one.  permalink

A picture named typewriter.jpgWho had the first feed? That's going to be an interesting debate for sure. I can show you mine, it was first published on December 15, 1997. But what makes something a feed? Can you have a feed with no aggregator? Is it the aggregator that makes something a feed? If so, we'll have to figure out who wrote the first aggregator and when, and what feed(s) it read. permalink

One of the criteria for being "first" is, imho -- Did your work lead to other people imitating you? That test says whether or not your work commercialized or popularized the concept. The implies "hitting the spot" where being the only one seems, somehow, less significant. That's one argument against Hall as the first blogger, but in favor of TBL. As far as I know there were no bloggers that formed a community in the aftermath of his Links from the Underground.  permalink

Pretty sure the first blogging community, in the sense that we think of blogging today, was formed around Scripting News. Most blogs today can trace their roots back to Scripting News, if you go back far enough. I suppose some communities are disjoint. Did LiveJournal spawn out of a blog that spawned out of something that came from Scripting? I have no idea. But I do know that most of the early bloggers were readers of this site, and many participated in the discussion group here. There was a website that traced the lineage, called BlogTree, and it verified that the root of the tree was Scripting News. This is something I'm proud of, I think justifiably. permalink

One of the reasons I'm proud of it is that blogging was created without the lock-in you see in systems like Twitter, Facebook and though they'll argue for sure, Buzz. Even Posterous, Tumblr and don't give you easy ways off their servers. Blogging started without the concept of a single server, so there was no place to get off of. The whole point was to be as distributed as the web itself, to give people independence, to let billions of websites bloom. This is such an obvious feature of blogs that people don't usually see it. But it's there, and it's hugely important. permalink

There are a lot of very vocal people who work to remove credit rather than give it. I'm sure some of them will comment here. As long as their comments are respectful they will stand.  permalink

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