Blogging 101

Blog? Blogging?

If these words are alien to you, then you must have been stuck without an internet connection since the turn of the millennium. Blogs and blogging have been regarded in cyberspace as probably the next killer app of the internet after e-mail.

To illustrate, blogs are slowly integrating into mainstream society as a very powerful medium for information exchange.

Blogs have helped spark and sustain voters’ debates in the last U.S. presidential elections. Blogs have been used to extensively discuss issues pertinent to the 2002 invasion of Iraq. Blogs have been used to expose scandalous practices by politicians. And blogs have revolutionized the way enterprises and businesspeople relate to the public.

What’s the buzz all about?

First things first. Llet’s define blogs and blogging. “Blog” is an abbreviated term for “web log” or “weblog,” and a blog is in essence an online space or a website that consists of frequently-updated articles commonly in reverse-chronological order. Think of it as an online diary (those old enough can probably conjure up in your minds images of Doogie Howser M.D. typing away on his PC at the end of each show episode). Aside from being a noun, “blog” is now also a verb denoting the author’s activity in creating or maintaining a blog. “Blogging” is, hence, what a blog author is said to be doing when he/she updates content or design. And “blogger” is what a blog author is commonly called.

So it’s just an online journal, you say? It’s definitely more than that. For the typical individual, perhaps, blogs can serve primarily as online journals, with the usual “today this is what I did,” entry and commonly with links to related and interesting sites/blogs, photographs, and other multimedia content. But you can do so much more with blogs. A blogs can be an editorial column for the opinionated. A blog can be an online portfolio for a writer, poet, or photographer. A blog can be a medium for grassroots news-reporting for the citizen-journalist. A blog can be a newsletter where a professional can showcase his/her expertise to colleagues or clients. A blog can serve as a collaborative knowledge-management tool for information exchange.

Anyone can now be a publisher. There’s no one to edit, proofread, nor censor your work. It’s all yours, baby! All yours.

So isn’t a blog just a regularly-updated website?

Yes, in essence, all blogs are websites. Hence, we should differentiate a blog from a static website, the difference being the frequency of updates. You can read a regular website and return a week after, only to find out that the information posted the previous week is still the very same information displayed as current news. And to readers clamoring for information, this can be a big turn-off. Readers tend to flock to sites with fresh content.

What if I’m tech-challenged?

Many blogging tools available online cater to authors who are not necessarily tech-savvy. These usually allow easy content and design management for individuals with are technologically- or aesthetically-challenged. It can be as simple as choosing the design/layout you want for your site, usually with point-and-click ease. Updating is also easy, as one can publish away with equally easy-to-use point-and-click interfaces for editing text content. Blogging software packages commonly also allow for easy uploading of images and other media. Hence, bloggers can focus on content without sacrificing aesthetics. It’s definitely all about content.

Blogs and blogging seem to be big in the west. Why aren’t we so into it in the Philippines, or at least not as much?

That’s exactly the issue I’d like to address in writing this column. Watch out for more articles, as I share the nitty gritty on the world of blogging. We will go into various topics like corporate blogging, business blogging, moblogging, linkblogging, and much more into the intricacies of blogging.

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