What Is Blogging?
A term we are becoming increasingly used to hearing these days is blogging. Along with blogging, it is sometimes easy to be confused by terms such as bloggers, fisking, photoblogs, blogrolls and the blogosphere.
In the olden days – or when I was a child – many people maintained a personal diary, although this was truly just that, a personal reminder of activities, events and happenings. Blogging can be seen as a computer age extension of those personal diaries, except these days with world-wide access to the Internet, blogs are widely read and can contain just about any form of media, including sound and video clips.
The term blog is reputed to have been coined by Peter Merholz back in the dark ages – or 1999 to be exact – when he took the current “in” phrase of weblog and broke it into two words, we blog, on his web site. However, people had been writing on-line diaries since the early 1990s, without realising that they were actually bloggers.
These days it seems that everyone has his or her own blog. And its not confined to individuals either – many governments now run their own blogs and no political candidate worth his or her salt would be without a blog. However, the rise in blogging, while undoubtedly useful in disseminating information that may otherwise be suppressed, has caused some commentators to sound a word of caution. Even Barack Obama has been reported as saying that there is a danger that blogging, full of statements of opinion, largely unchecked, could result in “people shouting at each other across the void, but with not a lot of mutual understanding.”
But if you want to join the myriad of bloggers – assuming you haven’t already done so – how do you go about it? What should you write about?
First things first. You have a number of options to start your own blog, depending on whether you have your own domain name already or not. If you don’t have a domain name, it’s probably easiest to use a “free” blogging service, such as Blogger.com, one of the most popular free blogging platforms.
But if you want to have more control over your blog, and you have your own domain, then there are tools designed to help you create your blog, such as Wordpress, which give you much more freedom in design, layout and “extras” that you may wish to include.
Whichever way you go, take some time over the design of your blog – it is your face to the outside world and should be easy to read, provide quick ways of navigating around your blog and of course allow for others to comment on your blog. As with most things in life, do your research on blog design before you launch your blog. There are many web sites offering advice for aspiring bloggers, such as Blog Design – just run an Internet search and you’ll be amazed at how much help you can find.
By starting your own blog, you will be joining a worldwide community that includes celebrities, politicians, journalists and sports personalities. The list of famous bloggers is almost endless, but includes names as varied as tennis player Anna Kournikova, actor Bruce Willis, the entrepreneur Donald Trump, singers Brittany Spears and Lily Allen and even the US White House blog.
What you write about in your blog is entirely up to you. You may want to create a personal blog diary, which only your friends and family can read, or perhaps you have more ambitious plans and want to voice your opinions to the whole world. It is a good idea to decide on the main theme for your blog then make sure that the name you select for your blog is related to the theme – that way you have more chance of being found by others interested in your theme.
Whatever you write about in your blog, there are several tips to make your blog stand out and encourage your readers to come back time after time.
- Write about subjects you are passionate about. You will be more likely to create a sense of excitement and interest and be more inclined to keep writing.
- Write informally and take the time to review your writing before posting it to your blog for grammatical errors and typos.
- Create a snappy headline for your blog posts that stands out from the body of your blog.
- Incorporate lists or bullet points in your blog posts, so they stand out for readers who begin skimming through your blog.
Here are some definitions to help you in the wonderful world of blogging:
- Blogosphere – the name for the collective community of worldwide blogs
- Blogger – anyone who maintains a blog
- Blogroll – a list of other blogs that a blogger may recommend
- Blawg – a blog devoted to law topics
- Fisking – a term used to describe a line by line response to a blog entry, normally highlighting perceived errors or misrepresentations
- Flog – coined to describe a fake blog, a blog that has been ghost-written
- Audioblog – a blog mainly consisting of sound recordings
- Videoblog – also known as vlog, this is a blog mainly consisting of video clips
- Photoblog – a blog mainly consisting of photographic material