Of Blogs and Bloggers
With websites, people around the world can easily and inexpensively express themselves online. Weblogs, commonly referred to as blogs, are a relatively new form of personal publishing. In the last few years the Web has witnessed a blogging explosion.
A blog is similar to an electronic journal or diary. The writer, known as a blogger, makes periodic entries, sometimes as frequently as a few times a day. Blogs can be on any subject, for instance, politics, relationships or daily observations while driving to work. These musings may be of interest only to the blogger's family and friends or they can command the attention of a global audience. It all depends on how thoughtful and compelling they are. What distinguishes a blog from other online publications is that it is highly personal, reflecting the point of view of the writer.In the Beginning
In the early days of blogging--the late 1990s--blogs typically consisted of lists of links to interesting websites or articles, along with some annotation or commentary from the blog's editor. The editor acted as a personal guide to the volume of information that was flooding the Web. Some current blogs still adhere to this format, but many others have become more freeform--a chronological posting of all kinds of material, including written musings, photos, video and references to other blogs. One thing has remained consistent though: new entries appear at the top of the page and older ones are archived according to date.Find That Blog
Hundreds of thousands of blogs have sprouted like wildflowers after a rain, so the trick is finding ones that interest you. While it may seem daunting, online search tools help with the hunt. Here are two to try:
- Google's Weblog directory, which categorizes blogs into subject areas.
- Technorati, a search engine that finds recent postings about current topics.
Not too long ago, publishing your own blog required technical know-how. For today's aspiring blogger, new software and online tools make blogging almost as easy as writing e-mail using a Web-based service like Gmail or Yahoo!
Here's how it works: First you sign up for service, and then you log onto a password-protected web page and write your copy. If you want, you can add links to other online resources. After you've composed your thoughts, clicking the Send button publishes your latest missive to your personal blog. It's that easy.
If you're ready to let loose with your thoughts, evaluate these two free services:
Blogger.com helps you set up an account, choose from a number of different page designs and begin blogging in minutes.
Pitas.com provides a very basic blogging service, without the customization you can achieve with Blogger.com.
Now you have no excuse to remain silent. But before you shout out loud to the world, remember that unless you publish a private blog, anything you write is public, so be mindful of what you say.
Last update: Jan 18, 2010