“Coined the Term ‘Weblog’ – Never Made a Dime”

by SMD 

When you live almost at the North Pole like I do, your copy of Wired magazine arrives a later than the rest of the planet. So, my apologies for this story being a bit dated, but I liked it enough to present it anyways.

The July edition of Wired has a story about Jorn Barger. Jorn was an unstoppable Usenet poster who became famous for his online debates on various topics: politics, artificial intelligence and music. In 1997 he migrated from the Usenet to the web and set up his site called Robot Wisdom Weblog.

Barger gave a name to the fledgling phenomenon and set the tone for a million blogs to come. Robot Wisdom bounced unapologetically from high culture to low, from silly to serious, from politics to porn.

The story goes on to explain how Barger defined the short, concise style that became the trademark of successful bloggers and coined the phrase weblog [to describe the process of "logging the web" as he surfed].

The interesting thing about this interview is that it was conducted on the street in San Francisco. Barger had allowed his domain name to expire and didn’t have the money to renew it. In the story, when the Wired reporter ran into Barger he was panhandling for spare change, holding a cardboard sign: “Coined the Term ‘Weblog’ – Never Made a Dime”.

Thankfully, the story has a happy ending a Barger was able to recover his domain name and get back on his feet. If you follow the links above to RobotWisdom and the Wikipedia listing about Barger, you’ll get a pretty good history lesson of personal publishing online and the internet in general. A lot of us owe Mr. Barger a tip of the hat. I left a couple bucks in his tip jar, but he should be selling pics of himself holding the cardboard sign. He’d make a fortune.

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