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Blogs and the bloggers who blog them: a primer

What is a blog?

“A blog is basically a journal that is available on the Web,” reads a definition put forth by the Web site Blogging Brits ( www.bloggingbrits.co.uk). “The activity of updating a blog is ‘blogging’ and someone who keeps a blog is a ‘blogger.’ Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently.”

How did blogs develop?

Online diaries used to be limited to those who had enough technological knowledge to be able to build their own Web pages. Then came the build-your-own-blog services such as Blogger or LiveJournal, Xanga or Diaryland, and a revolution was born.

Where did the word blog come from?

Coined in the late ‘90s, blog is a contraction of the term Web log.

How do I start my own blog?

Easy. Just Google the word blog and you’ll find multiple opportunities. The following are just a few blog services: LiveJournal ( www.livejournal.com), Blogger ( www.blogger.com/start), Xanga ( www.xanga.com), Diaryland ( www.diaryland.com).

What do bloggers write about?

As with any attempt to document thought, feelings and experience, blog entries range from the seemingly innocuous to the painfully intimate. Here are some examples taken from various Spokane-area blogs (or live journals). Each bears a name chosen by the blog author (the misspellings and grammatical constructions are the respective author’s, though profanity has been deleted):

consumedbydeath: “This morning when I was getting ready for school, I picked out my outfit. I picked my pants with the rips all over them, my shirt that ties up the front, My boots that go up to my knees, and my trench coat. And since I was not going to wear a jacket that goes over my head I decided to wear make-up as well. I got completely ready except for my trench coat so I could put on my boots. I got one boot on and the zipper on the other one came completely off one side. now my … boot is ruined forever, along with my day.”

deepestparanoia: “Miranda! I miss you hun! Couples are supposed to spend weekends together. We don’t get to … it really sucks.”

caroline rose88: “I noticed a while back since they keep advertising the Jamie Cullum live DVD whenever I’m watching TV, he can’t hit the high notes in the Radiohead song he covers, ‘High and Dry,’ which is a good song. Shows how little range the guy has. I’m surprised he didn’t cover Creep, because everyone covers Creep (including Damien Rice, who is great, but I wish he covered a different song of theirs).”

acidsymphony: “During Slayer I was getting really tired of getting crushed up against the front rail, and Slayer pits are legendary, so I threw caution to the wind and jumped in the pit. I got my ass kicked, and was trampled, thrown about, and slammed for a good half hour or so. I had many other people’s blood all over me (none was my own luckily).”

wessiewa: “This has to start something. We cannot let Skyler die for nothing. Too often people look at suicide and say ‘What a shame’ … and then go on with their lives. We cannot let that happen to us. Something needs to be changed. Now. Because of This. It’s easy to feel helpless and especially guilty when something like this happens. But what if we didn’t? What if we skipped that stage, went straight on to acceptance, and DID something? Like I said, Anyone could have saved his life. That is the message that needs to get out. Prevention, not in the conventional sense, but prevention in the sense that you don’t have to be someone’s close friend to save their life.”

– Dan Webster


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