After a slow start, blogging rapidly gained in popularity
Blog usage spread during 1999 and the years following, being further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted blog tools:
Bruce Ableson launched Open Diary in October 1998, which soon grew to thousands of online diaries. Open Diary innovated the reader comment, becoming the first blog community where readers could add comments to other writers’ blog entries.
Brad Fitzpatrick started LiveJournal in March 1999.
Andrew Smales created Pitas.com in July 1999 as an easier alternative to maintaining a “news page” on a Web site, followed by DiaryLand in September 1999, focusing more on a personal diary community.
Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan (Pyra Labs) launched Blogger.com in August 1999 (purchased by Google in February 2003)
In early 2006, Erik Ringmar, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics, was ordered by the convenor of his department to “take down and destroy” his blog in which he discussed the quality of education at the school.
Mark Jen was terminated in 2005 after 10 days of employment as an assistant product manager at Google for discussing corporate secrets on his personal blog, then called 99zeros and hosted on the Google-owned Blogger service. He blogged about unreleased products and company finances a week before the company’s earnings announcement. He was fired two days after he complied with his employer’s request to remove the sensitive material from his blog.
In India, blogger Gaurav Sabnis resigned from IBM after his posts questioned the claims made by a management school. Jessica Cutler, aka “The Washingtonienne”, blogged about her sex life while employed as a congressional assistant. After the blog was discovered and she was fired, she wrote a novel based on her experiences and blog: The Washingtonienne: A Novel. As of 2006, Cutler is being sued by one of her former lovers in a case that could establish the extent to which bloggers are obligated to protect the privacy of their real life associates.
Catherine Sanderson, a.k.a. Petite Anglaise, lost her job in Paris at a British accountancy firm because of blogging. Although given in the blog in a fairly anonymous manner, some of the descriptions of the firm and some of its people were less than flattering. Sanderson later won a compensation claim case against the British firm, however.