Why should I care?
I was responding to SocialTwister’s post, and what started as a paragraph turned into a rant. I felt bad I wasn’t at the conference to help out. I love talking about this stuff, and because I can talk fast, even if I cover little, or my point is weak, at least I said a lot in a short amount of time to make up for it… at least, I keep telling myself that’s positive. I wanted to at least archive it here in hopes it’ll get picked up on web searches to at least ease the barrier of entry into blogging. Anyway, here’s what I think Blogging is, and will sell it.
A blog, web log, or online journal consists of a online journal, diary, or writing of things that interest you. Goals can range from wanting a forum to exchange ideas, gain feedback, judge reactions, share your knowledge & experience, showcase your weekly comic strip, showcase and share your photos/art/pictures, bookmark your favorite topics and hyperlinks, and/or to be a part of an online community with people who have similar interests… or just the opposite, and merely to lurk and absorb and read one or all of the above with or without partaking in responding and feedback.
What are examples of blogs?
Examples include online journals, sites devoted to collecting news stories and happenings related a specific industry, company PR which is more quick and direct to customers with the ability for feedback and responses, or communities consisting of many journals strung together intuitively mixing various elements of the above or not depending on the area of interest.
Real world examples include Macromedia company employee blogs, reflecting said employee’s tastes. Mike Chambers, Project Manager for Developer Relations has a lot of technical posts sharing knowledge, showcasing the future of one of their products Flash, and inviting community feedback. John Dowdell on the other hand has the pattern of posting news links, and commenting on whether they are useful, interesting, highlighting key points, and pointing out the logical flaws or mistakes the writer makes, showcasing the power of the community. An online comic strip, Penny Arcade, has a lot of video-game inspired comic strips. LiveJournal is an online community consisting of journals created by people form all over the world, could can easily link to each other, respond to each other?s posts ranging from daily life to development projects, and form community journals to allow many to post in the same arena.
What tools do I use?
For a personal journal with no technical knowledge, try TypePad. If you want to join a community, or perhaps learn if a community of blogging is right for you, checking LiveJournal.com, Blogger.com, and radio.userland.com Finally, if your a techy, there are tons of software out there; just search on Google for blog software, and you’ll get a ton of review sites. I like MoveableType, but if your not a Perl fan, there are plenty of other PHP, ASP, .NET, CF, etc. out there.
Are there any dangers of blogging?
The pitfalls of blogging are having readers you don’t know about. This is not just a lack of knowing your demographic assuming your writing to an audience assuming this isn’t for just yourself. If you read a blog but do not respond to any of their posts, they probably don’t know about you. The same holds true if your mother, a significant other, or your boss reads yours. Just because they do not respond to your blog does not mean they are not reading it. Even if you obtain multiple blogs, one for personal entries and another for business, once online it tends to be always online somewhere even if you delete it, saved somewhere in the bowls of the internet.
Timestamps are another. If your employer see?s you posted a long entry, or series of entries, during work hours, will they care?
Revealing personal information is sometimes easier in writing, as the attitude that your writing in a personal journal is sometimes correct, and can give you a false sense of security. Some blogging sites do have ways in which to prevent your content to only be seen by registered users, and turn away internet search robots so it’s not categorized on some search engine, but your best bet is follow the old maxim, “I’m never sorry for something I didn’t say.” … that includes pictures, sounds, and video.
Additionally, even on blogs hosted by other servers, your sometimes apt to reveal personal information about yourself. This can be dangerous, more so for women, so be careful what you reveal, and KNOW who your talking to; anonymity is one of the web’s draws to the wrong people.
What is the point of blogging?
The gains are dependent on your personality and attitude. I do it because I want to share with my fellow man.
Writing is an outlet for some people. For others, putting down their thoughts about their day, life, or work so they can read them back later allows them to better reflect on things. Because others can comment, they can offer their perspective, experience, support, or distaste.
Companies gain from “1 click publishing”, whereas you can log into the software, write your post, and click publish… your done. This revolutionized PR at companies like Macromedia and Microsoft, empowering them to more quickly send information out to the community, interact with said community, and once a part of the blogsphere they can obtain a truly personal understanding of just some of the communities concerns without paying research fee’s, as well as being able to interact.
Others enjoy maybe not so much to post any entries, but rather read others. Whether it be a favorite news site, someone how makes fun and is a critic of other news sites, an audio blog, a photo blog, or blog communities in which you can read about other people’s daily lives, all from the comfort of your desk. Whatever float’s your boat.
I personally have one for my personal life to get things off my chest, one for promoting myself in the tech world as well as to share ideas with said tech world as well as geek things I find. My fianc? has one for knitting since she is new and loves getting help to save her frustration, as well as a professional for her career and sharing tech news she’s interested in.
Some people may have interests or work they are involved in that is unique, and the only way they can communicate and share with others in their field is via the blogsphere which is a lot more enriching and lasting than mailing lists or forums. Everyone blogs nowadays; your bound to find someone who has interests on par with what you do.
Blogging can offer monetary, emotional, spiritual, physical, and insightful gains. Go read some, and try it out! Your either surfing the personal internet, or adding to it. Either way, you can be part of the blogsphere.