Designer 49er

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why Blog?

What is a blog?
According to Wikipedia, a weblog or blog is a type of website where entries are made and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject while others function as personal, online diaries. Most are primarily textual although many focus on photographs, videos or audio files.

You can populate your blog with your own content on a regular basis. The beauty of a blog is that it can feature any topic that you see fit to post. It’s your space to discuss whatever is on your mind.

The act of updating a blog is called "blogging". Someone who keeps a blog is called a "blogger". In the past you had to possess a fair degree of technical skill to maintain your own weblog. These days blogs are often updated using software that allows even people with no code knowledge to update their blogs.

When did blogging start?
In 1994 Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore College, started a web-based diary called Justin's Links from the Underground. The site began as one of the first guided tours of the web but over time it evolved into Hall’s personal journal. In December 2004, New York Times Magazine named him "the founding father of personal blogging."

The roots of blogging can be traced back to the mid 1990’s but the mainstream use of online publishing platforms such as Blogger, LiveJournal and Wordpress did not become prevalent until about 1999.

What's the difference between an online blog and a blog engine?
An online blog is a web site that provides the user with a certain amount of web space to house and update their blog, usually free of charge. There are myriads of these online blogging platforms available to the public, such as Blogger,Typepad, LiveJournal and Wordpress (to name a few).

These sites also provide a number of "templates" that you can use to personalize the look of your blog but there is usually a limit to how much editing you can do to these templates. You're also not able to use your own domain name/url when using these blogging sites. Instead, your blog automatically becomes the subdomain of whatever free site you're using, such as "".

A blog engine is usually software that must either be purchased and/or downloaded, such as Wordpress or Expression Engine. This software is then installed and configured on the server that hosts your domain. The advantage to a blog engine is that you're able to create and modify the design and operation of your blog to fit your specifications. You're also able to utilize your own domain name, such as "".

Who blogs?
The majority of the blogging world is comprised of personal blogs written and edited by the average joe. But, as with any type of community, there is always an elite bunch. Blogs in the upper echelon might receive hundreds or thousands of hits PER DAY. Here's a few examples of some of the world's more famous blogs:

Blogs written by/about celebrities:
Wil Wheaton dot Net

Political blogs:
Crooks and Liars
Bring It On
Michelle Malkin
The Huffington Post

Technology blogs/social news sites:

Miscellaneous/Fun blogs:
Wiz Bang
Boing Boing

How are blogs ranked?
Some folks have gone so far as to create popularity lists that spell out who is who
in the blogosphere. First there's the Blogebrity list that assigns a Hollywood-style grade of A, B or C to blogs that they consider worthy of a ranking.

Then there's The Truth Laid Bear, a site that ranks popularity using a Darwinian-themed list called an “Ecosystem”. Rankings range from “Insignificant Microbes” to “Higher Beings”.

Next there's a site called BlogShares which is the unofficial blog stock market. The worth of your blog "stock" is based on the number of incoming links to your blog. It runs pretty much like the stock market where you can purchase and sell the shares of any blog that's registered on the site. Warning: users of this site often take themselves VERY seriously.

What’s the point of a blog?
It all depends on what you want to do with it. Some folks use it to share a line-by-line rundown of their daily lives. Some use it to chronicle their efforts to stop smoking or lose weight. Others host blogs that are actually "written" by their infants or their dogs and cats. It's all up to your own personal preference.