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How Blogging Software Reshaped the Online Community
Emily Gertz, 19 Jan 05

Rebecca Blood takes a thoughtful look at how software developments are driving the evolution of blogs into densely interconnected online communities:

In early 2000, Blogger introduced an innovation that would forever change the face of weblogs: the permalink. From the start, webloggers had frequently referenced other blogs. It was awkward ("Scroll down to the third entry on September 12th�") but this crossblog talk was so compelling it became a primary focus of entire weblog clusters. Permalinks gave each blog entry a permanent location at which it could be referenced--a distinct URL...[T]he feature was so useful that it became a canonical component of the standard weblog entry...

To some extent, the permalink also elevated weblog commentary to a legitimate form of discourse. A link is, after all, a link. Whether it leads to a weblog entry or a syndicated column, each link on a page has equal weight. If the nature of weblogs is to democratize publishing, perhaps the nature of hypertext is to equalize influence, at least within the context of the page.

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