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Monday, April 17, 2006

 

A Blog and a Website: This is How We Do It

If you haven’t noticed already, blogs are the new big thing on the Internet. In case you don’t know what a blog is, I’ll let you in on the not-so-secret secret. A blog is a website that is in journal or diary form. Essentially, it’s a place online where you can write about your life and your interests and share yourself with the rest of the world. Journals used to be secret books you hid under the bed, so this is a huge change in paradigm for this medium. Now, it’s about telling other people in the world what you think and do. The blogging community is already massive; there are millions of human beings with these new, simplistic websites, everywhere from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo.

For a little research into the blog craze I went to one of the biggest blogging sites, http://www.blogger.com which is now owned by Google. This site is pretty cool, and within a very short time you can have your own free template-based blog set up complete with your specified name. Your URL or web address usually has the name ‘blogspot’ after it, which can look a little unprofessional but I’ve heard that there is some way of getting around this obstacle. Otherwise, you can always go to a web-hosting company and set up a blog which will be more original in its design, as well as having any address you like. Meanwhile, I checked out three blogs at Blogger to see how and why people are making their online journals.

At http://funnycute.blogspot.com/ I found a really interesting social diary made by a cartoonist. One thing that made the journal entries so attractive to read were of course, the cartoons. She really is a great artist. The images-as they are self-drawn, add much-needed life to the text, as well as producing an individual authenticity which gives visitors instantaneous deep insight into the personality of the artist. Her blog site is obviously very popular as each entry has around 50 comments made by others attached to it. This is one of the main reasons why people write blogs: to connect with others of like-mind. This blog is well constructed as it has a good biography of the human being who it belongs to, lots of links to other blogs that relate to its general topic (in this case ‘cartoons’), and it has a link to the artist’s personal website. See, that’s the real phenomenon, to have both a blog and a general website. With the blog we get to see the workings of the mind behind the artist, whereas at her personal website, in this case: (http://www.katienice.homestead.com/), we get the opportunity to have a look at her professional portfolio.

The second blog site I checked out was at http://www.birdchick.com/blog.html. This site interested me because of photos of birds and other animals that accompany each day’s journal writing (again that essence of true life and not just text on a page makes it interesting). Here is a person whose site definitely focuses on the one central theme, in this case bird-watching. A standout on her blog’s home page is the long list of blog links, both to other personal bird-watching blogs, as well as to general media-owned bird-watching sites. One cool section of the list is dedicated to bird webcams. These are actual websites that have 24-hour-long camera shots of certain areas where specific types of birds are known to frequent (E.G. Great Horned Owls). What’ll people think of next? Again there is a link to the blog owner’s own personal website, http://www.birdchick.com/, which I assume is supported by a web-hosting company. Check it out, it has a cool photo of the blogger holding a huge hawk (I think it’s a hawk, I’m not very knowledgeable about the world of Ornithology!) on her arm. She’s even gone to the trouble (unless someone else out there did it) to put her website up in French as well.

The final blog I visited was called ‘Paradise Found’ which was located at http://tomquinn.blogspot.com/. An interesting point about the blogger at this site is that they reside (in the blogger’s own words) on a small speck of rock in the middle of the Atlantic (Bermuda). This just shows that even in a place so remote that people have even believed it to be supernatural (‘The Bermuda Triangle is where planes and ships are often reported to go missing never to be seen again), the Internet is alive and well and individuals are sharing their experiences, hobbies, beliefs, and interests with the rest of the now-interconnected planet. The blogger here calls his blog a ‘Photo blog’. Every diary entry contains at least one photograph personally taken by the photographer himself. There is also a link to his site at http://flickr.com/photos/tquinn/ where he has an archive of over 400 pictures that he’s taken. Again this pattern of blog for thoughts and personal points of view matched up and linked to a general website showing actual work, a portfolio, or general life interest, seems to be the way most people are now communicating with each other over the Web.

Today we are gaining so much more insight into what life is like for other people in the world. It seems that having both a blog and a website has been a natural progression undertaken by people who truly want to share themselves and their ideas with the rest of the human community

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