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11 key moments in [Anglo-]Caribbean blog history

Categories: Caribbean, Latin America, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Saint Lucia, St. Barthélémy, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St.Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Isl., Citizen Media

THE INTERNET ARCHIVE [1] IS preserving copies of many early blog pages, but most bloggers are too busy posting to think about otherwise documenting what they're doing. The history of the blogosphere goes back barely a decade, but evolution has been rapid, and bloggers who were around just three or four years ago may already seem like patriarchs and matriarchs. Here's a stab at an outline of Caribbean blog history — with a strong bias towards the region's Anglophone territories [2], and many pivotal moments no doubt missing. (Also, frankly, heavily biased towards the small circle of regular bloggers from the south Caribbean who I'm acquainted with in person or online.) Please use the comments to fill in the “historical record” — and maybe this will be just the start of a more comprehensive blog history project.

25 August, 2001
: Jamaican Mad Bull [3]‘s blog goes online — maybe not the first Caribbean blog, but certainly one of the very earliest in the region's Anglophone territories. (Anyone know of Caribbean bloggers who've been around longer? Please leave details in the comments.) His first post [4] reports on a night out with his wife. Mad Bull becomes known for his irreverent musings on life in contemporary Jamaica — and his connoisseurship of the Caribbean's female beauties….

30 September, 2002: the West Indies Cricket Blog [5] is launched by Ryan Naraine of caribbeancricket.com [6]. It goes on to become the Anglophone Caribbean's most popular blog — yes, West Indians love their cricket [7]. A link from Ryan usually means a major spike in hits.

8 October, 2002: one of the earliest references to blogging in the Caribbean's mainstream press appears in a Jamaica Observer article by Alex Dennis headlined “Hidden gems on the Web” [8], which recommends BlogSpot [9] to prospective bloggers. About six months later — on 14 April, 2003 — the Trinidad Guardian runs a feature on Trini bloggers (not in the online archives) that leads to a temporary spike in hits.

19 December, 2003
: in the earliest known example of Caribbean liveblogging, Imran Khan's Guyana Blog [10] covers a major fire [11] in downtown Georgetown, Guyana [12]. He even posts a diagram of the destroyed building [13] to jog the memories of Guyanese readers outside the country.

14 January, 2005
: the first Caribbean blogger to make a point of writing consistently in a “non-standard” local dialect appears: Guyana Gyal [14], whose first post [15] is addressed to “Guyanese homesick in Foreign”. Guyana Gyal will soon begin using her blog to appeal for help [16] for Guyanese communities inundated by disastrous flooding along the country's low-lying Demerara [17] coast.

21 February, 2005
: the Caribbean's first podcasting site, Caribbean Free Radio [18], posts its inaugural podcast: an interview with the Trinidadian rapso group [19]3Canal [20].

11 August, 2005
: the CariBlogrs [21] webring is launched [22] by Jamaican blogger fyrfli [23].

21 October, 2005: Caribbean Beat [24] becomes the first magazine in the Anglophone Caribbean to launch an official blog. The Beat blog [25]‘s first post [26]? A link to Global Voices.

16 November, 2005: Trinidad and Tobago wins its last FIFA World Cup [27] qualifying match; Trini bloggers provide live blog coverage of the match [28], broadcast audio commentary via Skype [29], and report on the massive, spontaneous victory celebrations in the cities of Port of Spain [30] and San Fernando [31] — with more audio coverage [32] the next day. The T&T mainstream media start to pay real attention to the blogging phenomenon — bloggers get quoted in the newspapers and invited to appear on TV [33].

27 November, 2005: the first known Caribbean bloggers meetup happens over dinner at a restaurant in Trinidad; oddly, only one of the five bloggers present actually blogs about it [34]. Just over a month later a group of Jamaican bloggers organises the second known Caribbean bloggers meetup [35].

9 January, 2006: Global Voices recognises the Caribbean as a separate region to the rest of the Americas, and appoints its first Caribbean editor, Georgia Popplewell [36]. Over at Americas editor David Sasaki's blog, a discussion starts up about how to define the Caribbean geographically [37]. Caribbean bloggers leap into the fray….