Where Africa and Technology Collide!

A Brief Timeline of Blogging Engines

Timeline of Major International Blogging Engines

  • October 1998: Open Diary begins and pioneers reader commenting
  • March 1999: LiveJournal started
  • July 1999: Pitas launches the first free build your own blog web tool.
  • August 1999: Pyra releases Blogger which becomes the most popular web based blogging tool to date, and popularizes blogging with mainstream internet users
  • June 2001: b2Cafelog starts being built by a few unemployed hackers
  • October 2001: Movable Type released
  • August 2003: TypePad launches for the non-technical masses
  • May 2003: WordPress.org begins as a branch of the b2Cafelog code, and quickly becomes the most popular self-hosted blogging engine
  • December 2005: WordPress.com launches
  • July 2006: Microblogging tool Twitter launched
  • October 2006: Vox Released by Six Apart
  • March 2007: Tumblr microblogging tool launches

Sources: I put the above graphic together from the following timeline that I found on Wikipedia, Enterprise blogs and the platform owners blogs.

I’m working on my talk for Where 2.0 next week and am starting to think that there is an analogy between current consumer-facing mapping tools and where we were in the early 2000’s with blogging and journaling tools. Not sure if I’ll even talk about this, but thought the research into blogging engines was worth sharing.


  1. I didn’t even know that Blogger was not founded by Google. The heads of Google at some point or another should definitely do a book on the art of acquiring companies; they have been absolute masters at acquiring companies complimentary to their organization including Feedburner and Youtube.

  2. i remember using geocities to setup a blogger account back in the day — interesting to me is how blogger went through many architecture stability issues prior to being bought by google; much like twitter goes through these days. blogger and twitter, of course, founded by same person, ev williams

  3. Nice graphic Hash – I am sure we will be seeing this all over the interwebs shortly.

  4. @Mwangi – agreed. They tend to do a very good job. Only a few not-so-good acquisitions like Dodgeball.

    @Matthew – I thought about adding in early publishing tools like Geocities, but decided to try and stay with a more “purist” definition of blog software.

    @Ntwiga – I was a fun exercise, regardless of whether anyone else finds it useful.

  5. Is it really really sad that I had an opendiary account? That means I’ve been blogging for… at least 8 years. Arg! And I’m still no good at it!

  6. Hash – What customer facing mapping tools are you considering? I am a big fan of NASA’s Worldwind as an open platform. I anticipate the day when KML goes mobile. Also, I am interested if you have been able to find an analogy between the recently popular micro-blogging apps (Twitter, etc) and mapping tools. What would be a micro map? Is it just hyperlocal mapping? Or is it the marriage between the micro-blogging apps and mapping tools, like geo-tagging from a handheld/iPhone, like Garmin’s Nuvifone or maybe something like the iPhone Lojack? Will the big blogging engines ever add geo-tagging/geo-rss output as a part of their base platform? How would something like Flickr’s Map fit into this paradigm? Lastly, considering your interest in Africantech, how would/could this technology apply there?

    Sorry for the 20 questions, but I like your idea!

    I am trying to make it to Where 2.0 and if I can, look forward to your talk…

  7. to nuttycow: I can’t even understand the lingo, is a man thing?

  8. @ Ben Truscello – Wow, that’s a lot of questions! I’m not sure I have the answer for even half of them, but here are a few thoughts…

    Right now I’m thinking more of ease-of-use and accessibility to mapping tools in general, not the specific map source. For instance, at first blogging was a bit of a headache for most non-tech guys. People couldn’t understand how to simply get an image up on their blog or create a link without knowing HTML. Then, along came the simple blog engines that got past the “techese” and made blogging accessible by the masses.

    I hadn’t really thought of any analogies between microblogging and micromapping. Since microblogging is determined by amount of content, I’m not sure if there’s a direct comparison there – can you do just “little maps”? Maybe… I’ve got to think on that one.

    Now, as to whether the big blogging engines will add things like geo-tagging and geo-rss, I’m hesitant to think that they will. WordPress is usually the leader in doing anything innovative – primarily because it’s an open source initiative that allows hackers from all over the world to plunge in and have fun with their platform. Of course, there are plug-ins for the system, but untl there is enough of a cry from (or trends in use by) the general public, I don’t see them adding it to the core (WordPress.com). There’s a chance that Google might make some tool that allows for easy linking/sharing between Google Maps and Blogger I guess too, but I’d be surprised to see it happen anytime soon.

    Alright, on to Africa. First we need to get some good geolocation data for Africa, then we can start thinking of better ways to mash up mobiles and maps there. However, I will say this, there are some really interesting things that could be done around “mobile marketplaces” that allow you to see who is buying/selling things within your hyper-local area. The same could be said of “events” and a social networking tool that pivots off of hyperlocation data. As the mobile phone is the primary access point in Africa, it would be pretty interesting to try some things out there. Speaking of which, I need to find out if it’s possible to do the location tracking off of cell towers in Africa as easily as it is done in the West.

    Thanks for the great questions!

  9. I don’t see it on the Wikipedia page, but Radio Userland (www.userland.com) was big in the 2000-2002/2003 timeframe as a combination blogging/aggregating platform for Windows/Mac.

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