1. The ancient past (1999-2003)
2. The age of growth and innocence lost (2003 – 2007)
During this period personal blogging really took off. Several solid platforms existed. Wordpress was released in 2003. Home internet starting becoming more common. Posts became longer though still several times a week. Blogging meant not only writing your own blog but also, reading and commenting on blogs. A slew of communities began to be created. People of like interests would share links, comment, and support each other.
This period also saw the rise of the popular personal blogger. People who would begin getting thousands of readers of their blogs. This helped spur the end of the innocence in blogging in two ways. First, people became aware that blogs were not anonymous(even if they tried to be) and were public. One of the most famous cases of this was the story of petite anglais. Her employer discovered her blog and fired her over contents. Several blogs completely disappear at this point. Their authors just seemed to not even take the chance of of being found out. Heck at the time I would put up personal medical details without even a thought. Secondly, now that people had many readers, the possibility of profit entered the picture. Bloggers started inking book deals, adding ads, and trying other ways to monetize their efforts.
3. Growth and Decline(2007 – 2010)
This new found money led to an influx of people looking to get on the train. People started creating blogs looking to capture certain SEO rich topics. Some bloggers just kept on trucking with what they had been writing before while many tried to tailor their writing style and topics to acquire as many readers as possible. Some where successful, many were not.
During the middle of this period we see the big rise of facebook and twitter into mainstream popularity. We begin to see a corresponding decrease in blogland. You see a log of blogs dwindle to nothing. They authors post less and less and then just stop. Sometime there is a final message but often the blog just waits there in hopes someday of being reborn. I think many of these people just went to facebook and twitter for quick life updates. Why bother with the hassle of a blog post when you can just quickly fling something out on your smartphone.
4. Rebirth in the time of Facebook(2010 –)
I will not vouch for the accuracy of anything I’ve said here. I am not a social scientist studying blog culture, I am just some dude who reads blogs.