In 1997, Jorn Barger coined the term "web logs" to refer to the growing fad that was sweeping the online world. Soon shortened to "blogs," blogs would become one of the most popular forms of online communities and is a fantastic example of Web 2.0 and, in many cases, interactivity.
In the 1990's, blogging had a much different face than it does today. Most blogs were collections of links. People used them to share with the world what was new and what was good on the world wide web. By 1998, this began to change. Blogs became online diaries. They were the virtual and public extensions of their editors.
Blogs have very clearly entered the 21st century now in 2008. The average blog is no longer just a texual diary, but is also a collection of photos, videos, sketches, etc., all with invariably shortened buzzword names (vlogs, photoblogs, sketchblogs, and many more). Today, almost all blogs encourage comments and participation by readers, in either offering opinions, rankings, or furthering discussion. Because of their nature, blogs--and the interactive content on them--span all genres, from politics to humor to very niche topics.
When they first popped up, creating a blog, like creating a website, required some technical knowledge. Essentially, blogs did not differ technically from an everyday average website. The editors needed to have an extensive knowledge of HTML and other web-based languages to make the sites even remotely visually pleasing. Today, however, anyone can make a blog, often for little or no cost at all, thanks to the many blog-creation tools that are now widely avaliable. Three of the most popular are discussed on this site: Blogger, Wordpress, and Xanga.