Some time soon an acquaintance might come up to you, perhaps at an office gathering or at a cocktail party and, in an effort to make small talk, ask: Do you blog?
You’d be forgiven if you imagined it’s a plumbing technique, a tummy flattening exercise or a hobby around saws and trees. Instead, a blog is the short form for “web log”Â. Or more simply, it’s a personal, yet public diary posted to a Web page.
These Internet-based dispatches are typically bite-sized chunks of text, often presented in a stream of consciousness style that can give you a somewhat voyeuristic insight into someone’s life. A blog can also include photos and even video snippets captured by a camera in a mobile phone. In these incarnations, they are moblogs (mobile blogs) or vlogs (video blogs).
Who uses it?
The blog is the new mood ring, so all the hip and connected kids have a blog. Bleary-eyed parents blog about their newborn’s gurgles. Backpackers blog about their kimchee adventures in Seoul. Celebrities and politicians blog. So do reporters. They might broadcast the arrest of a corrupt politician and then blog about the toilet paper stuck on his shoe as he’s led away. The appeal of blogging is unique context, perspective and details otherwise overlooked by the mass media. So – inevitably – pundits use blogs to voice political diatribes. Well-read bloggers are granted press passes to political leadership and party events, especially in the U.S. And when a blog is published from the streets of Baghdad or Tehran, the true power of this new paradigm in personal publishing becomes apparent.
How do I do it?
I blog. You blog. Anyone can blog. All you need is a free account with a blogging service such as Blogger.com or LiveJournal.com or a paid account with the feature-rich Typepad.com (US$4.95-US$14.95/month). If you already run a website, try the free blog software WordPress from wordpress.com.