Required (Remedial) Reading

Anyone trying to get caught up on weblogs, history of weblogs, what makes a good weblog, history of what people have thought makes a good weblog, and so on, should probably go back and ready CamWorld’s rant from January 26, 1999.
I have to admit that I used to think CamWorld was a nudie webcame portal site.
One interesting angle Cam pursues is not “who invented weblogging” or “who did it first” but more “what was the first successful/popular weblog.” He points to Dave Winer’s Scripting News as one candidate.
I find this interesting because I think who did it first is kind of boring and who invented it is kind of stupid. Depending on how you define it, early online diaries and journals predate most famous blogs. To some they don’t count because they didn’t necessarily point out and link to interesting websites. Others don’t count more pure weblogs like Jorn Barger’s Robot Wisdom precisely because they see the personal/journal aspect of blogging to be key. These definitions go round and round in circles.
Personally, I suspect it was the canned porno sites that had the first online journals, and everybody points to NCSA’s “What’s New” site as one of the first link filters. But, again, the more interesting question is how did the idea get so popular. That is, what about weblogging so closely meets the needs of such a large and growing number of people?
Cam also has a followup rant from May of that same year.