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Friday, November 17, 2006

MSN says: Blog it and they will Come

Blog it and they will come (retrieved entirely from , November 17, 2006) Others aspire to write may find this muy interesting!!!
"So is the hope of every blogger — or Web diarist — out there. Because everyone, whether they admit or not, wants to be heard, and a blog offers the perfect environment for just that.
Several of my readers have written to ask me what blogs ("Web logs") are all about. To be frank, I hadn't really been a big reader of blogs. But once I decided to delve deeper into the world of online Web logs and do some research, I discovered a brave new world out there. And sure, while I found some blogs to be pointless, others narcissistic, and yet others downright weird, I also discovered that there are many people out there who are interesting writers with unique perspectives on the world around them. In other words, I was pleasantly surprised, and it sucked the crabbiness right out of me — although my editor doesn't think so. (Regardless, don't worry; there are plenty of opportunities all around waiting to refill my crabby heart.)
You see, when the Internet first became a part of our common lexicon and people got a tiny amount of technical knowledge, personal Web pages became all the rage (and bane) of the Internet. I don't know how many of these are on the Net but I think I can safely say too many.
Blogs are a little different. While a blog can have many of the same qualities as a personal Web page, a blog is usually seen as more of a diary or a commentary, a core upon which a virtual community can form. (At least, that's my take on it, and from what I've read, there are as as many definitions for blog as there are bloggers.) Bloggers write about whatever is on their minds, be it personal, philosophical, or political. All of a sudden, their opinions are out there, for all to read, and their audience may just join them and create a community around one of their entries or ideas. And while personal Web pages were pretty much only for those who knew how to code a Web page, blogs can be created by anyone with an Internet connection since those who host blogs often provide the simple software and design choices that enable non-techie types to express themselves on the Web.
So what blogs are out there? There are blogs about hairless cats, blogs about politics, blogs extolling the virtues of nudist colonies, and blogs that serve the close-knit community of scientists studying the mating habits of paramecium. In other words, there are almost as many blogs as there are reasons to blog. And, according to comScore Networks, a company that provides information regarding consumer behavior in various industries, nearly 50 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, visited blogs in the first quarter (Q1) of 2005. That is a lot of people reading, interacting, and listening to what you have to say.
A blog by any other name is still a weird word
As I mentioned at the beginning of the column, as human beings, we have this need to express ourselves, and a blog is the perfect place to do that. Now, expression, as we know, comes in many forms, and so do blogs. Some blogs are strictly text based: the writer — or "blogger" — writes an entry every day, week, or however often he decides. If he develops a following of sorts, the audience expects to see his entries at certain intervals, and so a sort of community is formed. Some blogs incorporate photos, video clips, and lists, such as a list of links to other blogs or any other kind of sites. Sometimes readers of blogs can even provide comments, thereby enhancing the feeling of community.
So you can see why this type of communication is really catching on: If you nurture and pay attention to your blog, you can create a community out of thin air around yourself and your interests. For example, consider the blogs that gained notoriety during the last national election: Many of these bloggers became somewhat famous as their communities grew, and they were granted entry into the circles normally reserved for mainstream journalists.
Blogs can also be oriented toward business; they can perform such duties as exposing new products, or acting as forums to talk about everything from new inventions to changes in business practices. Remember that number of 50 million blog visitors in Q1 2005? Imagine the countless ways in which you can reach, connect, and correspond with your current — and prospective — customers.
You can see why blogs are growing more popular: It only takes a few minutes to set up a blog and it doesn't require that you be a computer geek.
Everyone else has one; I want one too
...and so now I have one. That's right: Crabby has her own blog. And while my blog isn't really where I post commentary and opinions, it is a place to read my column. But even better than that, you can access my blog (and therefore my column) using RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows you to subscribe to "feeds," or content, from several sources and automatically combines the information into one list, a list that is contained in an RSS reader. You can quickly browse the list without visiting each site to search for new information of interest to you. It's ingenious, really; you don't have to bookmark all your favorite sites (such as my archive page); you just check in with your reader, see what's new and read what you want. When you subscribe to my blog on MSN Spaces via RSS, the moment I publish a notice that I have a new column, you can go and read it. Or, you can just read the intro and decide the content isn't for you right now.
More information about Crabby's blog
Get the latest Crabby columns with RSS.This article explains what RSS is
Crabby's Corner on MSN SpacesThis is my actual blog
Crabby RSS feedThis is a link to the place that explains how to subscribe to my RSS feed
Now, if after reading this column you're all hot to create a blog of your own, visit MSN Spaces. They make it nice and easy to get started and make your voice heard." (November 17, 2006)

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