YouTube. Podcasts. Even Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. But… LiveJournal, anyone? No? Believe it or not, before the modern era of online content being almost exclusively streamed audio or video, there was a time when we all basically had to read the internet as though it was a digital book, more or less. Does anyone even remember the term “blogosphere” anymore? It was totally a thing.
Gather round the VR campfire, I’ll tell the tale of how it all began. You see, before we had actual websites that existed on the Word Wide Web that were viewed via web browsers, we had Bulletin Board Systems (more commonly referred to as a BBS), which were viewed within what was basically just a command line interface.
A BBS was literally just a server with a modem in it that you would dial up (assuming you had the actual phone number) and connect to using the modem in your home computer. This was accomplished using your actual landline telephone connection.
Imagine, if you will, a world where mobile phones didn’t really exist and if someone was talking on the telephone then you wouldn’t be able to connect to a BBS. And vice versa. If the BBS server had 2 modems and two telephone numbers, then two people could simultaneously connect and chat with each other.
BBSes were often used as an early platform for online gaming (Legend Of The Red Dragon, anyone?) and of course for old fashioned chatting. Some BBS servers would have dozens of connections available, making chat rooms possible.
But let’s not get too wrapped up in the history here. The point is that all online communication and content at this point was text-based; you could only use numbers and letters. In time, people would create what was called ASCII art (images created by using numbers and letters, sort of like primitive digital hieroglyphics), but generally speaking there was no practical way to communicate between computers using your actual voice… and video was not yet even a blip on the radar of possibilities. All we had was the written word.
You say you want an evolution?
If we were to start comparing the evolution of online communication with the evolution of music media, then the written word really is kind of like vinyl (it’s arguably where it all began, after all) and a BBS was sort of like an 8-track tape. Are we a little too archaic here? An 8-track was a short-lived medium that eventually fell into obsolescence due to the invention of the cassette tape. In the same way, BBSes were replaced by web browsers and the dawn of actual websites.
Just as music mediums would evolve, from the cassette tape to the Compact Disc and MiniDisc, ultimately becoming fully digital as .MP3 and .FLAC files, online content and communication would likewise evolve through different forums and formats.
As more people found their way to the internet, blogs were officially born and would become one of the first widespread purposes of websites. The year was 1998 and people had discovered that they could now share their unfiltered thoughts with the world. This concept has now carried through to the modern day with YouTube vlogs. “Vlog” being an adaptation of “blog” which itself is just a shortening of “weblog,” for anyone curious about the etymology there.
Although the earliest days of blogging are slightly muddled by the sands of time, there were a few platforms that came to popularity, including the aforementioned LiveJournal and even WordPress® itself began life as a modest blogging platform. In many ways, blogging never actually went away, though it did fall out of popularity as other mediums rose to prominence.
However, just as vinyl albums seemed to decline in popularity before resurging several years ago and reaching new heights of popularity with audiences of all ages, blogging has seemed likewise to begin its own ascent recently. In this world of 60-second TikTok videos, people are once again finding value in the long-form written word.
Blogging as an SEO tool
The SEO value of a regularly-maintained blog is no secret. After all, the format of a blog is ripe for strategic keyword use. If your online business doesn’t currently publish a blog, then now is the time to dust off those keyboards and get to writing. There is arguably no better tool available to generate organic search engine traffic to your website than a well-written blog.
Additionally, blogs are used to establish your individual voice in a sea of competition. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that the cream does rise and quality content truly is king.
The classics never go out of style
When it comes to music, there will always be a loyal and dedicated audience for that pure vinyl sound. Likewise when it comes to online content, there will always be an equally dedicated audience for the pure original format of blogging.
Whether for a business, entertainment, passion project, or hobby, why not start a blog today? Give it some thought, then share your thoughts with the world.
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