Home Dot Obits: The Birth of the Blogosphere and of Independent Media

Dot Obits: The Birth of the Blogosphere and of Independent Media

This is the latest in an occasional series on people who have passed away, folks who have contributed in some way to the development of, or the way we look at, the Internet and Web. If you know of someone who should be featured, please let us know. Also, since these are the early days of Dot Obits, I’m going back a few months in time for some of the portraits.

Brad Graham, a funny, energetic gay blogger, died earlier this year at the age of 41. Although Brad’s friends and family valued the man for himself, the rest of us may value (or lament) his contribution to the vocabulary of the online world. Love it or hate it, Graham coined the word “blogosphere.” He did so in jest and no doubt with an awareness of the fact that the ugly neologism “blog” could only be made uglier and more ridiculous with the addition of a sphere. Mission accomplished, Brad. We’ll take it from here.

John Kluge was the founder of Metromedia, the U.S.’s first independent media company. He was 95. Kluge’s company wound up with seven TV and 14 radio stations. But he also added radio paging services and mobile telephones to the Metromedia mix. In 1986 he was the second richest man in America, after investor Warren Buffet.

Aside from being an interesting man in terms of his relative disinterest in being the subject of the media he loved, he was also an exemplar of the intellectually active older person. The idea of disconnecting from life was repellent to him. He was just too interested in it. But aside from his personality, his creation of independent media and his awareness of the changing nature of the technology helped to power the creation and profitability of the mobile sector.

If it’s true that science fiction helps to mold our expectations of the future, then the death of F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre has to be included in our .obits. MacIntyre (not his real name – nothing about him was real) set fire to his filth-choked apartment in Brooklyn and killed himself. An innovator of the steampunk genre and frequent writer for Asimov’s Magazine, he lived a secluded life which was every bit as made up as his stories, perhaps moreso. His shifting history and even his name were made up. As of this writing, his real name has still not been discovered and his body lies unclaimed in the Brooklyn borough morgue. Although he was generally liked by his peers, he was apparently close to no one. Hell, that’s sad.

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