Being new to blogs and blogging I am still learning about all the “ins and outs”. I regularly get into discussions with friends about blogs and you would be surprised at how many people say, “I don’t blog.” They go on to tell me they don’t understand it, don’t know how, and that it scares them.
Not really sure where the fear comes from. But usually when something is new to a person, the lack of knowledge about the topic tends to leave their conclusions based on hearsay and incorrect information. Blogs, in their most primitive forms have been around since 1979. That might seem impossible since the internet was only at its beginnings and wasn’t widely accessible then, but I am getting ahead of myself. Lets talk about what a blog is.
The term blog came into use officially in 1999 when Peter Merholz used it in a side bar on his blog Peterme.com. Earlier than that the longer term of weblog was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. These original weblogs were entries by individuals within blogging communities. The authors of the blogs would write commentaries on their personal life or the world in which they live. They would use them as a platform to describe events and even share pictures and videos. The predecessor to weblogs was usenet.
Usenet was the brainchild of Duke graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979. This is what I hinted to earlier. Seeing as this was before the internet, I can’t even begin to tell you how they did it. BUT the purpose of this was for students in the user network to post and share ideas, somewhat like a bulletin board system. This system operated off of the simple, yet basic premise that people want to connect, share their ideas and get feedback. People have always wanted to do that even before the internet and they always will. With the invention, rise and mass usage of the internet that has become even more of a reality.
You can visit almost any web page and there will be a way to share it. You can see links that allow you to share it on various sites like twitter, facebook, technorati, and delicious. How do blogs get shared and fit in with all of this? Before the internet people relied on various forms of mass media to stay connected to the world past their immediate sphere of influence. They would subscribe to newspapers and magazine and tune into the radio and television shows to learn about current events, new ideas, and get their latest celebrity gossip. With the addition of the internet to the list of media forms – the ability to learn about the world is easier than ever, even right in the palm of our hand with our cell phones.
Now people don’t have to wait for the evening news to tell them what is going on, they can sign on to the internet and read the latest headlines within seconds. Blogs are now competing with newspapers and other periodicals to get the word out first. The authors of blogs have their own voice and they are being heard through their daily/writings. Problems with accuracy are obviously going to arise, so people should always consult more than one source to confirm new information. With newspapers, you can go to the news stand and pick it up or you can subscribe to the paper and it is delivered to your front door.
You can do the same things with blogs – go to them or have them come to you. Blogs are read on a daily basis people who subscribe to them using their RSS feed or a reader of some sort. I use google reader and find that it is extremely user friendly. RSS stands for really simple syndication. It is an extremely easy way for you to receive information in real time.
The word blog might turn some people off because it sounds like some kind of green goo that an alien has left behind. Blogs might turn some people off because it is one more thing on the internet that they don’t understand. Come on people, do you see the internet going away any time soon? Would you ever cancel your e-mail account? As long as , inquisitively creative people exist there will always be new ways to utilize the internet and use its power for good and evil. Blogs, when used the way they were intended are not evil.
Blogs give people a voice, a way to connect with people outside of their immediate sphere of influence. For musicians it is amazing! Think about it, you can contact the housewife in Iowa who used your song in her wedding or the boy in India that listens to your newest song on his ipod. An artist/songwriter can’t physically be in all places at once. Your online presence allows you to do that. Look at Taylor Swift. She video blogs on a regular basis. She is the poster child for how an artist can use the internet to develop, maintain and retain a very devoted fan base. People love open books. They love to know what is in your head and how you honestly react to situations. Just look at Taylor’s reactions while she watched the televised announcements of the CMA nominations. How can you not love her after this honest reaction?
The internet is not going away. Social networking is not going away. Blogging is not going away. Ask me questions, ask a friend, or get Blogging for Dummies… do something, but don’t stay out of the conversation. You will be amazed at how far communicating with people and connecting with them will get you. Not only will it take you far, but it will enhance your knowledge on topics, you will learn how people think, and you will increase your mark on this world!