The following article was in the Kansas City Star today. I didn't link to it because you'd have gotten a site asking you to sign in, get a username, etc. Here's the link to the KC Star, though: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/. I like to give credit where credit is due.
Internet sites effective in spreading news and connecting people
The Kansas City Star
Blog. The word itself is ugly in a funny sort of way — like a pug dog. But blogging is one of the more important cultural developments of the last decade. Blogs are Web sites typically created and maintained by single individuals, though sometimes by organizations.
Generally, the purpose of a blog is to express opinion or showcase one's art, or to engage readers in an ongoing dialogue or interaction on topics of mutual interest. Most bloggers update their sites daily or at least weekly. Posting photos, videos and links to other blogs and Web sites is also common on most blogs.
There are blogs about politics, travel, food, movies, music, quilting, cabinetmaking, poetry, sex, religion and death, among the hundreds and hundreds of other human interests and activities.
The word “blog” comes from the two-word phrase “Web log,” first used to describe the online journals that began to appear in the mid-to-late-1990s. The phrase morphed into a single word “weblog,” and then was abbreviated to “blog.”
Blogs have emerged as a social and political force to be reckoned with. Blogs by journalists working outside of the mainstream media have broken many important news stories in the last several years.
After the tsunami, bloggers quickly posted video footage of the waves and their destruction, bringing the disaster immediately and intimately into the homes of Web watchers worldwide.
And last summer, within minutesof CBS reporting that it had uncovereddocuments casting doubt on President Bush's National Guard record, bloggers doing their own research and fact-checking on the Internet raised questions about the authenticity of the documents, which were later proven to be fraudulent.
There are tens of thousands of blogs. Which makes finding a blog or two or three that you might actually enjoy reading regularly a fairly daunting task. Directories such as Blogwise ( www.blogwise.com), Blogarama ( www.blogarama.com) and Blog Universe ( www.bloguniverse.com) can help in this search.Don't be a bump on a blog
If you'd like to create your own blog there are free blog services that make online publishing a snap. Blogger, a service owned by Google, is the most popular of these. There are also reasonably priced services that offer a wider range of publishing options. TypePad is one of the better known of these subscription-based services.
• Identify a reason for creating a blog. The reason should be something beyond simply recording the daily events of your life, unless you have a particularly interesting life, or expressing your thoughts and opinions, unless you have particularly interesting thoughts and opinions or a particularly interesting way of expressing your thoughts and opinions.
• Give your blog a good name. This will help draw attention to your blog and provide potential readers with a sense of what the blog is all about.
• Post frequently. Unless you're willing and able to update your blog daily or at least weekly there's probably little reason to initiate a blog at all. The point of a blog is to engage others with similar interests in an ongoing online discussion. If you don't hold up your end of the conversation, people will lose interest quickly.
• Visit, read and comment on other blogs. Your mother was right: “The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.” The more frequently you interact with other bloggers, the more traffic will flow to your blog.
• Be patient. It'll take some time to learn blogging basics, and it'll take even longer for folks to discover your blog and spread the word about it.