So, Bloggle is undergoing changes. It’s not alone — the changes really reflect only some of the changes that have been happening in the life of your trusty author. And this is…

The Rest of the Story
Five years ago — only five? — when I started Bloggle I was a happy Web Geek, doing happy Web Geek things, i.e. building Web sites for companies that were only beginning to realize that this Internet thing was more than just a passing fad. Maybe I had a jump-start: I’d been building online bulletin-board systems for a number of years when the behemoth began to stir.

The Internet was there… had been there for years! It was only this new itch between the behemoth’s shoulderblades — the Web — that proved so much more compelling than so many itches that had come before: Gopher, WAIS, etc. Tim Berners-Lee put together a simple transfer protocol mixed with a startlingly simple, stripped-down version of SGML that made it easy to create pages that could be shared with a thousand million people all over the planet. And then in a coup de grace, Mark Andresen added pictures [!] and a killer app was born.

Bloggle’s birth was the result of a new flea on the back of the monster… the weblog, or blog. The phenom that is blogging grew out of an aspect of the Web that, looking back, I can admit I didn’t really understand. There were thousands of personal Web sites. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Vanity sites, personal paeans, or just silly collections of dancing hampsters… in my view they only added to the wrong side of the signal to noise ratio. Sure, there were a few pages out there that communicated something important, something relevant. By my measure, they were few and far between.

And then this blogging thing. What need was there for a tool that allowed the huddled masses to blurt with amazing simplicity and no editorial process whatsoever whatever they had on their mind at the moment? Who would be interested what Zannah had for breakfast? Or what Cam’s point of view was on virtually anything? And what was the deal with Zannah linking to Cam’s commentary and adding still more commentary on the side of what was – to me – a fairly empty point to begin with?

Slowly, oh so slowly, comprehension dawned. First was the realization that, just as I had found some small number of these personal sites – these blogs – to have something of interest to me, so too had other people with views strikingly different from my own. For every Zannah there were a hundred like-minded people. Maybe more. Maybe many, many more.

And this linking thing… once I got it, I was amazed just how short-sighted I’d been. Maybe I’d spent so much time immersed in the data networks that pulsed just below the surface of things that I hadn’t been paying attention to what was developing above the surface.

And it hit me like a heavy-handed scifi plot reveal… The OSI model was wrong: there are eight layers to the network, and the top layer is people!

Right before my very eyes – before the eyes of all of us! – a vast human network had emerged and it was chock full of a hundred thousand points of view, and it was focused by a lens made up of a million links to kindred content authored by kindred spirits. And it was going to change everything.

And so I started Bloggle. ‘Cause I was damned if I was gonna miss out on something that I’d been in the middle of right from the start.
[Continue to Chapter II, in which your trusty author discovers what can happen when people chase their dreams…]

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