That last link goes to the Wikipedia page, because pretty much any other link I put in there has a greater risk of breaking. And that’s what’s at issue here.
Dave was able to date usage in part because others, including yours truly, knew that history was being made, live, at the time. My contribution was DIY Radio with PODcasting, on a Linux Journal blog called IT Garage, on 28 September 2004. In it I wrote this linky passage:
But now most of my radio listening is to what Adam Curry and others are starting to call podcasts. That last link currently brings up 24 results on Google. A year from now, it will pull up hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions.
Which it did, and still does.
But what matters here is that Linux Journal has kept IT Garage up on the Web, even though it has long since run its course.
In The Web We Lost and How We Lost the Web, Anil Dash describes the slope down which we have collectively slid over the last decade or so, as more and more of our documents and activities online have become streams instead of pages, and locked up in what Bruce Schneier calls a feudal world of walled POPS: Privately Owned Public Spaces.
I saw the streamed world emerging when my son Allen predicted the “Live Web” in 2003. I thought that was an amazing insight, especially since the Web of pages we had known since 1995 was fundamentally a static one. My first substantive piece about the Live Web was probably this one in 2005. My last was this one in 2011. More recently Phil Windley has run with it, which I like because he’s a real developer and not just a writer/instigator like me.
We can find these historic details because links have at least a provisional permanence to them. They are, literally, paths to locations. Thanks to those, we can document the history we make, and learn from it as well.
Links also, as David Weinberger has always put it so well, subvert hierarchy. There is something about the loose joining of our small pieces that keeps the big centralizers from turning everything we do into snow on the water.