The term "weblog" was forged by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was concieved by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999. Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the phrases.
Before blogging became the new thing, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, commercial online services such as GEnie, BiX and the early CompuServe, e-mail lists and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). In the 1990s, Internet forum software, created flowing conversations with "threads." Threads are popular connections between messages on a virtual "corkboard."
This new thing ("the blog") evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. Most such writers coined themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers. Justin Hall, who began personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, is generally recognized as one of the first bloggers, as is Jerry Pournelle. Dave Winer's Scripting News is also credited with being one of the earliest and longest running weblogs. Another early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person's personal life blending text, video, and pictures transmitted live from a wearable computer and EyeTap device to a web site in 1994. This practice of semi-automated blogging with live video together with text was referred to as sousveillance, and such journals were also used as proof in legal matters.
Early blogs were simply manually updated components of regular Web sites. However, the changing of tools to facilitate the production and maintenance of Web articles posted in reverse chronological order made the publishing process feasible to a much larger, less technical, population. Ultimately, this resulted in the distinct class of online publishing that produces blogs we see today. For instance, the implementation of some sort of browser-based software is now a typical aspect of "blogging." Blogs can be hosted by dedicated blog hosting platforms, or they can be run using blog software, or on regular web hosting services.
Some early bloggers, such as The Misanthropic Bitch, who began in 1997, actually called their online presence as a zine, before the term blog entered common usage.