The Web the Way It Was
3:00 a.m. 23.Feb.2000 PST
It's not just the ranks of weblog publishers that are growing. Readership also appears to be up.
While declining to provide precise numbers, Jorn Barger, who publishes Robot Wisdom, one of the oldest and most popular weblogs, and who coined the term weblog, said his daily traffic has grown to tens of thousands from the mere hundreds when he started in 1998.
In fact, Barger claims he creates his own mini-Slashdot effect these days, boosting the traffic to sites and pages he lists on his page.
"It's very gratifying," he said. "I didn't think I had that kind of clout."
Though one of the earliest publishing practices on the Net (weblogs can be traced back to the earliest days of the Web and are successors to the once ubiquitous "what's new" page), it is still relatively unknown to many Net users.
Most weblogs are maintained by individuals, and the sites reflect their creators' interests. Though they generally follow the same format, with fresh links at the top of the page, weblogs come in many varieties.
Some, like Slashdot and The Drudge Report, are well-known, focusing on news stories of general interest. Others, like Librarian.net, are devoted to more specialist topics.
The best are eclectic mixes of resources, assembling news stories with new sites, essays, and opinion. As pointers to new and original material on the Net, they are unmatched.
For example, Memepool recently provided links to sites for creating your own Old Testament adventure, bubblewrap lingerie, and entomophagy.
At the same time, Yahoo's What's New linked to Philip Morris, Quaker Oatmeal, and Clover Stornetta Farms.
Barger says in these days of commerce-driven portals, weblogs are by far the best way to explore the Net. So efficient is the weblog circuit, Barger estimates that anything new on the Web will filter through the system within a month.
"When I started two years ago, the Web had this huge quantity of resources that were very hard to find unless you knew where to look," he said. "Back then I had a distinct sense that I was in a big dark room and I wanted the light turned on. Now there are just a few dark corners."