I have been thinking about something that Gruber posted, Tablets are waiting for their Movable Type. He and Singer are right, Movable Type and other blogging engines dramatically lowered the barrier, but that wasn't the only reason things took off. It's nice to think that people would blog to blog, but its likely that the explosion of content and blogs came because there was an audience. That audience was delivered by blog aggregators like Bloglines.
Bloglines, Google Reader, and various desktop news readers drove the popularity of early blogs 1. Daring Fireball is an example of an early blog that was in the right place at the right time [^2] . I have personally seen a fireball happen. There is a huge difference between a link posted on the web and when it hits the feed; the feed drives way more traffic. It illustrates the effect of aggregators, especially when considering early blogs.
I know blogging is much different now days. The web only audience is bigger then the blog aggregator audience but, in the beginning it was all about subscribers to your feed. ↩