What Happened to Blogging?

This is an article not a blog. Blogging – logging things to the web – used to be messy and informal. It was a way for everyone to casually thought dump and exchange ideas in pseudo-real-time and it was wonderful, a free exchange of knowledge unencumbered by advertising of any kind.

Now-a-days there is a stigma against bloggers who don’t polish up every post. Back then blogs didn’t have titles, they had timestamps.

The extreme end of this new stuff is art-directed blogging. It is amazing and beautiful, but damnit, it ain’t blogging. 😁

I want the original blogging back. And so here I am. Putting it all out there every day, sometimes several times a day, like we original bloggers did.

Yep, I Started It

I should know what a blog is. I’m pretty sure I created the first one in 1998. It was a corporate blog for Nike around this time of year exactly 21 years ago to cover the Olympics in Nagano Japan. The term blog did not exist back then.

Nagano Symbol

Nagano Symbol

After building Nike’s first intranet web portal SwooshNet in conjunction with the director of internal communications, I was gifted Phil Knight’s VIP NBC package so I could be the pocket tech dude covering all sorts of things. It was fun being the new kids who understood the emerging tech of the day.

[Ironically although I grew up in Salt Lake City, I was unable to attend the Olympics there later.]

I was like, “hey wouldn’t it be cool if we could have this web page just update automatically by adding everything I put into this form I built.”

I coded all of it myself using a Perl CGI script that just slapped all the raw HTML only the end of a raw page.


Soon I had a laptop at the Nike Olympic Village and was added photo uploads and interviews with snow boarders, skiers, and others. It was the first time in history snowboarding was an Olympic event and I got to capture all their grinning faces.

The smooth marketing guy and director of internal communication gal led my uncool self around telling me to take pictures with (what had to be) the first digital camera ever. The department had paid gobs of money for it and I had to treat it very carefully. It took 800x600 images, you know, like kiddy cameras now.

Ross Powers, One of the First Olympic Snowboarders

Ross Powers, One of the First Olympic Snowboarders

[Video of Ross being interviewed]

I don’t have any of those photos now. I so wish I did.

The snowboarders where so amazing. Ross was the coolest, most down to earth guy there. He showed me his bronze medal. We cropped the silo cups out of the photo. (He was one of the clean ones.) He probably would not remember this geek that took his photo for Nike’s intranet, but I will never forget him.

By the way, the skiers were the most arrogant, rude, olympians I met my whole time there, about what I would expect from elite skiers having grown up around many skiing in the Rockies.

The Kenyan bobsled team was my favorite. They signed my coat, which I eventually handed down to my sons after the marker had faded. sigh

I don’t believe I got to meet Shannon Dunn-Downing, who won the other American bronze.

Photo of Shannon

Photo of Shannon

I grew up skateboarding before it was anywhere near as cool as it was today, and yea, I grew up skiing in Utah. In fact, the first time I ever snowboarded was in Nagano on that trip. I was completely humiliated. Who knew it is nothing like skateboarding?

One random thing I remember was how many Japanese had flip-phone cell phones. Few in America had any mobile phone at the time.

Blogging Comes Full Circle

I suppose the point of my trip down memory lane was to illustrate what blogging originally was, a way to capture random thoughts, ideas, and interviews relatively frequently and without any title of any kind, just date and time stamps.

The closest remaining vestige of this original past-time is Twitter, but that is super limited. It is still called micro-blogging.

Medium came along for “medium sized tweets” but even that succumbed.

Medium and most blogs today are really articles. Again, if it has a title it’s an article, not a blog.

Blogging was (and can still be) very raw and unedited. It is meant to capture the moment. The idea of going back and editing your blog post later to change your position or even your spelling is a little disingenuous even though that is common practice today. It seems really unfair that you can go back and change your the opinion you had then to look like the one you have now. I mean, that’s almost as bad as George Lucas destroying the original Star Wars by completely changing the endings and making Han shoot second.

Don’t you think there is value in capturing the thought process and how you arrived at your current position?

I do.