Yesterday, Dave Winer celebrated the 10th anniversary of Scripting News, his seminal and enormously influential blog at scripting.com. Dave co-created or popularized of a broad range of blogging technologies — from RSS to podcasting to blogging itself.
So this week, in honor of Dave’s milestone, we’re going to talk about some of the people who’ve been tinkering with blogging and personal social media for a decade. We invite you to think back to 1997, as many of these seminal sites were just getting started, and try to imagine the breadth of changes they brought to the web in the years that followed. In fact, in just the few years after the founding of sites like Scripting News, blogging had gone from an unnamed or even nebulous concept to helping form a nascent community and then to becoming fundamental evolution of the social web. This was solidified by the coining of the word “blog” in 1999.
To tell the truth, at Six Apart, we’re not so interested in the debate over who defines the word “blog” or “weblog”, who came first, or which stuff someone should or shouldn’t get credit for; the bottom line is, blogging as it exists today, and many of the technologies that make both blogging and our company Six Apart possible, wouldn’t be as popular as they are today without the influence of pioneers like Dave Winer. And back when there were only a few dozen bloggers in the world, each one of these voices had an even more powerful impact; The blogosphere was so small back then that it was often possible to talk to nearly everyone involved. It’s a period in our own medium’s history which is well worth revisiting.
As Mena pointed out a few years ago, we are excited to recognize the innovators and inventors whom we’ve been influenced by, and we’re proud that many of them have reciprocated by supporting our efforts. For example, at a seminal point in our own company’s history, Dave offered his perspective on business models for developing software, informed by decades in the software industry and at the center of online communities.
Now, you can’t pay fair tribute to Dave Winer without conceding that he’s stepped on some toes along the way. (We suspect he might even take some delight in noting that himself.) But here’s the thing: Dave ships software like crazy. He thinks of ideas, builds them out, and gets them in front of real (albeit geeky) users, sometimes all in the same day. For every time he’s pissed somebody off, there are just as many times when Dave’s been generous with not just his ideas, but his implementations. That fundamental generosity is a key trait of all of the innovators in blogging.
For ten years now, Dave has been guiding us to the links he feels are most important, punctuating that narration with essay-length thoughts on everything from politics to technology to media. Scripting News has everything you could look for in a blog, delivered with inimitable personality. And it’s an extraordinarily appropriate blog to start with as we look at where blogs have been, and where they’re going next.
We owe a big thank you to Dave Winer for all his work in influencing the rise of blogging, but also for helping create a milestone for us to use as a starting point for a conversation. And as Dave himself might say, “Keep digging!”
(Thanks to Dan Bricklin for the image used above.)