Got a thought or opinion to share with the rest of the world? Have some news to spread? Words of wisdom or advice? Then try blogging!
Blogging takes the term "freedom of speech" to a whole new level on the Internet. Originally termed as "Weblog," it is simply a way for people to voice (or "log") their personal opinions, stories, political views or links on a Web site and share them with whomever may be interested.
The format of a blog varies from simple, diary-type postings by individual authors to complex articles written by a collaboration of writers. Many Weblogs enable visitors to leave public comments (or "posts"), which can lead to a community of readers centered around a blog.
For the past few years now, Weblogs have gained increasing notice for their coverage of breaking news stories and their ability to report rapidly about current events. One of the most significant examples of the year was the emergence of interest in the Michael Jackson trial, which saw both supporting and opposing bloggers taking passionate points of view.
The blogs, which gathered news on the case and reported blow-by-blow details, exploded in popularity. In the end, it gave readers a great source for in-depth analysis of the case.
A great example of a community-based Weblog is Jewishblogging.com. The site contains a large number of blogs that deal with Jewish-related happenings around the world. It reports on everything from the arts and dating to news about events happening in and around Israel.
If politics is your thing, take a look at the major news reporting sites - CNN, FOX News and MSNBC. Most of their reporters and authors have some sort of Weblog posting on their site, and you can certainly expect a biased opinion there.
Across the Internet, the collection of Weblogs and blog-related sites is called the "blogo sphere." When a large amount of activity, information and opinions centers around a certain topic or controversy in the "blogosphere," it is called a "blogstorm" or "blog swarm."
How to Get Started
If you are interested in creating your own blog, a number of tools and resources are available to get started. Blogger.com and Xanga.com are excellent Web sites that allow you to create your own blogs and publish them on their servers from your Web browser. Blogomonster is also another good example.
Software such as Movable Type and W.Bloggar allow users to maintain their Web-hosted blog without the need to be online while composing or editing posts. Once complete, they can be easily uploaded to their publishing server.
Whatever your opinion may be, blogging gives you a chance to voice it to the entire Internet community.
Weblogs have the power to transform readers from audience to participant in a matter of minutes.
If you have a say about a particular issue, just blog it and share it with the world - someone's always out there to listen and read along.
Michael Trantas is CEO, e-Safe Solutions, Inc., and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org .