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To Blog or not to Blog

By Christine Boese (CNN Headline News)


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(CNN) -- Have you started blogging yet? What are you waiting for? No, it is not a body function and you are not required to do it in private.

If you like following the latest Internet trends, it may be time to dip your toe in a blog. "Blog" is "Netslang" for "Web log." At its most basic level, a blog is a diary. "Dear Diary. Today I got up, brushed my teeth, put on deodorant ..." How compelling! Can you tear yourself away? In the early days of blogging, teenagers reigned, barfing up the days of their lives in classic teen fashion.

Blog-rolling

When the dot-coms bombed, something shifted in Blogland. Well-known journalists and other self-proclaimed experts began blogging. They used their blogspace to comment on the news of the day with blunt and unvarnished insight. Blogs became something people wanted to read. Former New York Times Magazine columnist Andrew Sullivan became a blogger. His blog, "The Daily Dish" (andrewsullivan.com), is as popular than ever, averaging 75,000 unique visitors weekly according to media sources.

Celebrities blog (www.wilwheaton.net). Ordinary people blog (blog.hotornot.com). Now Salon readers are blogging (www.salon.com/blogs).

This is what futurists proclaimed would happen when the Web first began. Then the Web went corporate and personal publishing was subsumed in the grand quest to build better online catalogs to sell widgets. After the dots bombed, many corporate ventures went under. Who was left? The bloggers. Several sources put the total number of blogs in the range of 200,000 to 500,000. Google returns 2 million hits on the word "blog."

Not to be outdone, a number of corporate and mass media outlets are starting to support in-house blogs by their own journalists or as part of intranets, called k-logs or knowledge-logs. Macromedia started several software support blogs. Alas, for hard-core netheads, blogging may have become too mainstream to be a buzz-worthy pop culture artifact.

How to Blog

This is the easy part. Unlike making Web pages, you don't need any special skills to blog. Free or low-cost blog software applications do all the work for you. There's a list of them below.

Many of them simplify connections to news compiler services that are a real hidden value. You can skim the news of the day, offer your pithy comments, and post both to your blog with the click of a button.

All you have to do is type, as in e-mail or a word processor. Oh yes, and have something to say.

Blog Software

Blogger: http://blogger.com

Moveable Type: http://www.movabletype.org

Greymatter: http://www.noahgrey.com/greysoft

Radio Userland: http://www.userland.com



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