Okay, I've just been handed a letter here by one of our producers here and asked to simply read it aloud. So here goes.

(Reading) Dear Steve, we didn't want the year 2007 to go by without marking an important event on the Internet.

Ten years ago, this letter says, a guy used the phrase Web log for the first time to describe his personal page of links and comments. And a few years later, that phrase Web log became the word blog. Whether we like it or not, we now live in a bloggal village.

So, this letter says, to mark this sort of anniversary, we have an experiment. We've put together a blog about blogs. But this is an audio blog. It was built for your ears. No typing, no clicking required. We're ready to play this blog on the radio. Okay, here we go. I'm ready to start. So why don't I just say, click.

(Soundbite of random audio blogs)

INSKEEP: Okay, random people I had never heard of talking. This is pretty much how it is when you're going and surfing blog. Click.

Unidentified Man #1: The word blog started out, of course, as Web blog, literally a log. A listing of where I have been today on the Web.

INSKEEP: Fragmented thoughts - this is very bloggish.

Unidentified Man #2: Some of the things I make. Something a blog are - the frequency of updates. The fact that it is interactive and people can post comments immediately. Also having the contents all in reverse, chronological order…

INSKEEP: Okay, if this is really the Web, there'd be some way to scroll down the page. Guys, scroll. Scroll, please.

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

INSKEEP: Here we go. Here we go. Click.

(Soundbite of Peter Merholz's audio blog)

Mr. PETER MERHOLZ (Works at a Design Firm, San Francisco): My name is Peter Merholz. I work at a design firm in San Francisco. And in 1999, I coined the word blog. In 1997, the word Web log was coined…

INSKEEP: Then (unintelligible) that funny echo. I wonder if that's how they're telling me it's a hyperlink.

Mr. MERHOLZ: Before this thing that we were doing had a name, we were doing this. We were collecting interesting sites and linking to whom. So one day, instead of calling what I did a Web log, I moved the syllable one letter over to we blog. Probably one of the first personal bloggers was a guy named Justin Hall. He was a college student...

INSKEEP: Oh, a hyperlink.

Mr. MARYHOLTS: ...who decided to lead his life online.

INSKEEP: Let's hyperlink on Justin Hall.

(Soundbite of Peter Merholz's audio blog)

Mr. MERHOLZ: Justin Hall.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Ms. JUSTIN HALL: My name is Justin Hall.

INSKEEP: Okay, we're on a different page.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: In 1994, when I was a student - a freshman at college - it felt like you could surf the entire Web in two weekends. There was a newsletter at that time that went out that told you what all the latest Web sites were, right. And so I would pull out my favorite links and I created Justin's link through the underground, which got increasing numbers of visitors. And I thought, if all these people are coming to my Web site, I might as well inflict some of my poetry and personal writing on them. And I'll put a biography on there on my site to be honest about who I am and what my biases are and what my…

INSKEEP: Scroll please.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: …are. And so…

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

INSKEEP: I should just mention again that we're listening to a radio version of a Web blog scrolling as if we are through the words of Justin Hall -fascinating guy. An important guy in history, but let's scroll a bit.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: I mean, there's a huge opportunity for kids in schools and to teach…

INSKEEP: Kids in school - linking on the kids in school.

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

Mr. HALL: …such a fantastic place…

INSKEEP: Okay, okay. Come on. Come on.

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

Mr. HALL: Kids in schools…

INSKEEP: Waiting - taking a while to load here.

(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Ms. VICKI DAVIS (Teacher, Westwood Schools-Camilla, Georgia): I've seen the difference in my own classroom.


(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Ms. DAVIS: This is Vicki Davis. I'm a teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia.


(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Unidentified Woman#1: Can you tell how to do that?

Unidentified Woman#2: Are you working on your blog (unintelligible)?

Ms. DAVIS: We are a small private school, about 350 students.

Unidentified Woman#1: Just get the hyperlink you want.

Unidentified Woman#3: I would open up two windows and get…

Ms. DAVIS: Well, we start blogging in fifth grade in private blog. And by the time they get through ninth and 10th grade, we start giving a little bit more freedom, with parent permission, to blog publicly under a pseudonym.

INSKEEP: You know, this is the person I would never looked up her story on my own. But here I am, discovering it randomly. Kind of fun.

(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Ms. DAVIS: They are writing…

Unidentified Woman#2: Okay.

Ms. DAVIS: …for the world. And they feel that their writing on the blog has more meaning than it does than writing in English class.


(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Ms. DAVIS: But there's also a tremendous aspect of teaching student's safety because most students have a MySpace or a FaceBook and they are blogging. We've got to teach students how to be effective digital citizens.

INSKEEP: Digital citizenship. Let's see what more is that on that link.

(Soundbite of Vicki Davis's audio blog)

Ms. DAVIS: Digital citizenship.

(Soundbite of Sreenath Sreenivasan's audio blog)

Professor SREENATH SREENIVASAN (Dean of Students and Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University): You would have a more rounded picture of what is happening in the world if you add blogs to your media diet.

My name is Sreenath Sreenivasan. And I teach online journalism at Columbia University. There are about a hundred million plus blogs around the world. Maybe a hundred thousand new ones started every day.


(Soundbite of Sreenath Sreenivasan's audio blog)

Mr. SREENIVASAN: But most are read by the writer and his mother.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SREENIVASAN: Some blogs started in a fit of enthusiasm and then have not been updated since. But one place where the blogosphere has had a disproportionate impact is the world of politics.

INSKEEP: Let's go scroll over the world of politics.

(Soundbite of Sreenath Sreenivasan's audio blog)

Mr. SREENIVASAN: The world of politics.

(Soundbite of Mark McKinnon's audio blog))

Mr. MARK McKINNON (Media Adviser, Senator John McCain): I expect that there'll be some blog-related story that will change the course of this election.

My name is Mark McKinnon. I'm the former media adviser to George Bush for the 2000 and 2004 campaigns and currently advising John McCain.


(Soundbite of Mark McKinnon's audio blog)

Mr. McKINNON: In 1999 and 2000, in that race, I remember that nobody in the Bush campaign even had BlackBerrys. Flash-forward now and, you know, it's really evolved to we have what we're commonly calling now, the YouTube election.


(Soundbite of CNN/YouTube Republican debate)

Mr. ANDERSON COOPER (News Anchor, "Anderson Cooper 360°"): Welcome to the Republican YouTube debate.

INSKEEP: Oh, that's perfect.

(Soundbite of CNN/YouTube Republican debate)

Mr. COOPER: For the next two hours, the eight Republican candidates for president will be questioned here on this stage by you.


(Soundbite of Mark McKinnon's audio blog)

Mr. McKINNON: Again, I do think the candidates have to assume that any dialogue, anywhere, can be picked up and blasted into the blogosphere somehow. So, they're no longer in a bubble. They're really outside the bubble all the time.

INSKEEP: Blasted into the blogosphere. I'm going to go back and link on that.

(Soundbite of Mark McKinnon's audio blog)

Mr. McKINNON: Blasted into the blogosphere.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: To receive attention from strangers is so flattering.


(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: And that's what Web logs offer.

INSKEEP: We're going in a circle here. We're back to one of the earliest bloggers.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: This is Justin Hall again. You know, when I first started Web logging, I thought, my God, everybody has to do this. Everybody has to do this. Blogging is about publicly airing your thoughts, but blogging is also about having connections to other people in other knowledge…

INSKEEP: Great to hear from you again, Justin.

Time's a little short. Let's scroll down a little bit.

(Soundbite of Justin Hall's audio blog)

Mr. HALL: …invention we have access to and I think everybody should experiment with it.


Okay. So we have this audio blog going. We've met a number of people. And, of course, one other thing that happens on blog is after you read something, you have an opportunity to post your own comments. And you, yourself, which means me, I guess - I can post my own comment about everything that's been going on. So let me do that now.

And I want to begin, not by talking about something that Justin Hall actually said, but about my feelings about what Justin Hall actually said. What I feel, anyway, about what Justin Hall actually said is…

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

INSKEEP: Wait, wait. Hold on. Are you scrolling pass me? I've got a point that I want to…

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

INSKEEP: Wait, wait…

(Soundbite of audio distortion)

INSKEEP: This is a major national radio program. You don't have - oh. Thank you. Just take a minute.

The point I'm trying to make is that we're going to be discussing this subject all-week long as we mark the 10th anniversary, more or less, of the blog. And we'll continue tomorrow with a conversation with a journalist who went on the Web - went through blog after blog looking for good writing.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: You can learn how one blogger got his start and also scroll past some key moments in the evolution of the blogosphere at

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