Thomas Hollowell - Author, Athlete, Entrepreneur, World Traveler

The Mind-Blogging Age

Whether you are planning to take a trip around the world or experiencing parenthood for the first time, a related blog is probably being published right now. With an astounding 150,000 new blogs created daily, it might be the best time for you to finally make sense of this mind-boggling practice known as blogging.

Intuitively, people want their voices heard. The history of the blog takes us on a not-so-long journey way back when Usenet groups began posting comments for other technological-savvy members to read and respond to. Changes in the Internet have brought changes to such e-mail lists and bulletin boards. E-mail lists have given way to newsletters, and bulletin boards have become forums. Not until the early 1990s did these same Web gurus begin posting daily journals, opinions, or news pieces in reverse chronological order so that the reading public would have up-to-date information through a different sort of medium – media generated by regular people offering a different perspective or in-depth insight into an event that mainstream agencies didn’t access.

Blogging is becoming more advanced every day. Corporations, news agencies, and even maverick journalists are posting vblogs (video blogging) and podcasting their messages to mass audiences. News agencies that once rejected blogging have jumped on the bandwagon to keep their audiences up to date on what’s happening around the globe. Through RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and Atom (created due to discontent with RSS) feeds, users can subscribe to their favorite blogs and have the information delivered right to their browser or desktop. Users of Technorati (
www.technorati.com), which keeps track of nearly 70 million blogs, simply ping the system to send a notice of their updated material.

Blogging & You

Both Mac and PC users can have a blog up and running in no time using a web-based blogger such as Blogspot (owned by Google). Its one of the simplest systems to use, but doesn’t allow users to do much with their templates. Another more slightly dynamic web-based blogger is Typepad, which charges a monthly fee. Mac lovers really like Typepad for its ease of use and stability. Moveable Type is a blogging program that is also quite popular with Mac users because of these aforementioned qualities and the fact that it allows you to host it on your own server. The free version has its limitations. Highly noteworthy is the WordPress blogger, which is an open-source (free) program, continuously enhanced by dedicated guru developers.

The team at Apple offers a template-based Blog.Mac account that is solely designed for blogging and podcasting. The Blog.Mac utility is offered as an alternative to the iWeb full website design program, which includes excellent blogging software. It allows users to make professional-looking websites with photo albums and podcasts. iWeb is cleverly designed to work best with a .Mac account, a somewhat expensive, but easy-to-use server. Other products that might just outdo iWeb are the sleek and powerful RapidWeaver (
www.realmacsoftware.com) and the flexible Sandovox (www.karelia.com).

The New Blog

Starting a blog and getting others to notice it are two entirely different pieces of the same
mind-blogging puzzle. For a blog stand the test of time, it has to say something that captures the interest of online readers. With literally hundreds of millions of blogs to choose from, if you want more than Uncle John to read it, you’ll have to take advantage of some sites that will help you get noticed.

While blogs used to be more journal-oriented in nature, they have evolved in the last few years. While some of the most popular blogs are political in nature and others syndications--such as those written by industry experts, famous actors, Internet marketers all have a dedicated following. Your blogging software program will automatically generate the script (RSS and Atom) needed for others to subscribe to your postings, but the key is to make it easier for others to find, trust, and easily subscribe to your blog. Make sure your blog can be posted to Del.ic.ous (
www.del.icio.us), to the ever-popular Digg (www.digg.com), and Furl (www.furl.net). Additionally, you can allow your visitors to subscribe to your content through NewsGator (www.newsgator.com). Such resources will also allow you to tag each posting with necessary keywords that online users are researching. Additionally, the best way to get noticed is to constantly add quality-written, subject-specific and newsworthy material a few times a week.

The Fierce Future of Blogging

Many who once criticized blogs have started their own blog, and blogging is now the norm for regular people to deliver their messages to the world. Hardcore bloggers (often called escribitionists) are vying for your time, and competition for an audience is only getting fiercer. Well-established bloggers in the field with valuable content to offer are always going to maintain an audience, but those who also offer the newest advances in multimedia--with user interaction and video, and who constantly grab readers’ attention, are going to keep up with the fast-paced blogging world and staunch demands of their subscribers. Blogs, bloggers, and the art of blogging are still evolving and being defined. The movement, however, cannot be ignored and is one way the world is learning more about itself. So, why shouldn’t you speak your mind and try your own
mind-blogging adventure today!

Appears in: ComputorEdge V25N13