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Understanding Blogs And Blogging...

Blogs are big business these days. In fact, blogging and blogs are rivaling websites for popularity for both personal and marketing purposes.

But what exactly is a blog? In this series of articles, we'll look at blogs and blogging and get you up to speed on one of the fastest growing hobbies today.

But first, some background.

A few months back, at the ITEA conference I saw this guy sitting next to me typing constantly into his wireless laptop.

He was making notes on what the speakers had to say, was finding relevant links and then hitting the send key - instantly updating his Web site. 

No sooner the site was updated; he would get responses back from readers around the globe.

He was a Blogger...

About Blogs

Several years ago, surfers started collecting information and interesting links they encountered in their travels around the World Wide Web.

As the time passed they started creating logs of the information they collected and soon they started creating their own web logs. 

The web logs enabled them to update the information and links as often as possible.

This was what the guy in the conference was doing. Improvements in Web design tools have certainly made uploading and updating easier for them.

Blogs are more permanent than posts to an online discussion list and much more dynamic than older-style home pages.

They are more personal than traditional journalism, and definitely more public than diaries. 

A blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person's life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary site. So, there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.

These are a few common characteristics of a blog, but blog types may slightly vary.

Some blogs provide a succinct description of judiciously selected links and other blogs or websites the author enjoys visiting.

Others contain commentary and links to the news of the day. A few are endless stream of blurts about the writer’s day. 

Others forms are - political blogs, intellectual blogs, some are hilarious and some topic driven. They are all called Weblogs.

More than a list of links and less than a full-blown zine, weblogs may be hard to describe but easy to recognize.

A blog can be recognized by its format: a webpage with new entries placed at the top, updated frequently. Often at the side of the page is a list of links pointing to similar sites.

Some sites consist only of a weblog.

Others include the weblog as a part of a larger website.

Even though there are so many different blogs, there is one thing common about all the bloggers: most are noncommercial and are often passionate about their subjects.

Weblogs tend to be personal and immediate but they are more simple and straightforward.

People can publish their thoughts, even for the first time, with almost no training. Within these constraints, sites such as http://advogato.org/, http://blogger.com/, http://www.livejounal.com/, and the venerable http://slashdot.org/ each serve a different niche.

Defining Blogs

A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.

Blogs are alternatively called Web Logs or Weblogs. However, "blog" is used unanimously because it seems less likely to cause confusion, as "web log" can also mean a server's log files.

Blogs & The Worldwide Web

Both personal sites and lists of links have existed since the web was born. Indeed, the ability to link one document to the other that existed on the global network drew early enthusiasts to the Web.

They published pages and eagerly perused the pages of content published by others. That was the time when the accessibility to the pages from any computer with a modem and a browser was more important than the content of that page.

For a while, webpages became an interesting addition to the cyberspace. Then the space got crowded.

As a result, the web grew at an exponential rate and the search for the required information became difficult and simultaneously more time consuming.

That was until a few of these enthusiasts decided to put the links they collected daily onto a single webpage.

These people placed their stuff – descriptive text and links, for example: their travel records, on the web. The text enabled the reader to know why they should click the link and wait for the page to download. And so a particular type of website was born.

The New York Times article about a website named ‘LemonYellow’, published in July 1999, didn’t say a word about weblogs, but affirmed the notion that webloggers were onto something.

Most of the early weblog editors designed or maintained websites for a living. Few of these editors just knew HTML - the simple coding language used to create webpages.

To read on, visit part 2 of our Blogging Guide

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