A blog is an online web journal that contains text, photographs and graphics, and links to other blogs, websites, and related media. The term comes from the combination of the words web or website and the word log (or journal). The person who creates a blog is called a blogger. Anyone can become a blogger - all you need is a computer with an internet connection, a free account from a blog provider, and the desire to share your ideas with the world.
A blog can be about any one topic or about multiple topics. Since anyone can have a blog, there is probably a blog for every topic imaginable. In fact, the popular blog tracking website Technorati claims that over 71 million blogs exist. Those are a lot of people sharing their points of view with the world! As you can probably tell, blogs have revolutionized the way information is spread in society. You no longer need to work for a newspaper or news network to make your voice heard.
There are several websites that offer free blogs to anyone who wants one (or more than one!). The websites differ in how their blogs are typically used, but all blogs have the same basic elements.
Blog entries are very similar to traditional journal entries. While some blog sites call entries “posts”, some sites such as Live Journal choose to retain the connection to the paper version and keep the term an “entry”. Whatever you call it, a blog post or entry allows the user to use internet technologies and customs to bring their ideas to the screen.
Similar to an e-mail, a post contains a subject line indicating the post’s topic, followed by the main body of the entry. Just like an e-mail, a post can contain images, text, video, and sound bites. Since the web offers the ability to use the simple HTML programming language to make any site look interesting, blogs can use this language to also make your posts look interesting. Most blog sites let you create entries with rich text without even using any programming.
Here is a list of popular blog sites that allow you to quickly and easily start your own blog. These sites also have directories that contain every blog they host, making it easy to find a blog about a topic you're interested in.
Live Journal – www.LiveJournal.com – This site helps users build a community with other users of the service. Users can create a blog and make individual entries available to the whole world, or just to users within the blogger’s community. This is an excellent site for families and friends to keep in contact with each other, post news about their lives, and even share pictures with one another.
Blogger – www.Blogger.com – This site allows you to quickly and easily create a blog. It isn’t as community focused as Live Journal, but it allows users to create a subject-specific blog quickly and easily. Create a blog and start posting your ideas within a few minutes. Users can easily post pictures, videos, sound clips, and text into a single post. The Blogger site allows people to quickly search for blogs by interests, keywords, or topic.
Word Press – www.WordPress.com - This highly customizable blog allows users to start a blog on the WordPress website, similar to the previous blogs, or download software and start a blog on their own websites. This is wonderful for companies and organizations that want to have the most control over the appearance and maintenance of their blog. Both versions of the blog are free.
iWeb – www.Apple.com - Although this isn’t exactly a blogging site, this option offers the easiest and quickest way to create a blog. If you have an Apple Computer, all you need to create a blog is already included in your computer. Simply use the iWeb software to start a blog and post it on your Mobile Me account.