Blogging 101 Hi Eve, It's awesome to hear that you're interested in blogging.

Since you're new to the world of blogs, I'll give you a brief history of blogging. First off, blogging is writing. At a fundamental level, there is no difference between a blogger and a writer. Put another way, a blogger is a type of writer. The only difference is the medium. Back in the late 1990s, the web was just getting popular. People were making homepages, but most of them were pretty static. However, some people began to keep online journals or diaries. These were basically webpages that were organized using "posts" that were listed in reverse chronological order. The term weblog was coined in 1997 to describe these online journals, and was later shortened to blog. Many of the first blogs were technical in nature, since it was really the geeks who understood the mechanics of online publishing. The following is a list of some early bloggers of note: -- Scripting News by Dave Winer, who pioneered the development of blogs -- Megnut by Meg Hourihan, co-founder of -Recently, she writes mainly about food and gastronomy -- by Jason Kottke, an early blogger who became one of the first people to quit their day job and do blogging full time; writes about culture, design, and art with a geographic focus on NYC -- Anil Dash, founder of Six Apart who built MovableType, a popular blogging platform As the years went by, tools were developed to allow anyone to easily maintain and post to their own blog. The basic design of blogs were also fleshed out. These include: 1) Posts: Blogs are centered around posts which are typically short formed essays. Most successful blogs provide posts often. The concept of quick and up-to-date posts sets blogs apart from other traditional publishing mediums. 2) Permalinks: Any post has a permanent link. This allows people to pass around a link to a blog post that is guaranteed not to expire. 3) Linking: Blog posts generally link outside the blog to other sites and blogs containing relevant information. This creates a rich atmosphere of information flow and conversation that is unique to blogging. 4) Commenting: Blog posts can allow people to comment. This allows the readers of the blog to interact with the blogger and the other readers. Sometimes, the comments are more intriguing than the actual post. Fast forward to the present. No one had any idea the impact that blogs will have on society. They are now a major part of politics, technology, culture, and any other area of society. There are now 71 million blogs, and many are being made even as you read this. With all the blogs out there, it can be hard for a new comer to discover what's good. I remember in our discussion that you were a bit puzzled by people blogging about their dogs and cats. But it is these dogs and cats that make blogging a

powerful medium. It's all about the long tail -- blogs about dogs and cats can live side-by-side with major blogs that have well over a million readers. In this new publishing medium, everyone's writing is as easily accessible as the major blogs. It's really this flattening of the playing field that is the key tenant of what is called citizen journalism. But, we'll get to citizen journalism in a moment. Let's look at a few of the major blogs that are giving traditional publishing a run for their money: -- a technology gadget blog that breaks gadget news on a weekly (if not daily) basis. A recent article about a delay in Apple's iPhones sent Apple's stock plummeting, with a market cap loss of over $4 billion. -- Om Malik, a respected writer for Business 2.0, quit his day writing job to start a blog network focused on the intersection of technology and business. There word has a lot of sway in the online tech industry (Joanne works for them) -- Michael Arrington, a lawyer by trade, also started a web technology blog mostly focused on startups. With readerships in the 10000s, he charges $10,000 for ad placements on his front page. -- A political blog by Dave Pell, an early blogger. -- Boing Boing is a weblog of cultural curiosities and interesting technologies. -- author Ariana Huffington's blog, which provides commentary and news. -- another popular political blog -- a very popular political blog -- an urban travel blog And of course, there are many, many more. You can go to and search for news and blogs of interest. They do a good job in indexing blogs, and are considered by many the Google of blogs. As blogs matured, they also spread into other types of mediums, including photoblogs, podcasts (radio blogs), and videoblogs. The common thread that runs throughout all the different kinds of blogs is how they empower the amateurs and individuals out there to publish content in a space traditionally dominated by professionals. The term for this is citizen journalism, and its causing a major climate change that can potentially change the future of publishing. So, now, what can you do to get involved? First, start a blog. I would suggest using WordPress, which is a free blogging platform. Go here: and get started. Second, decide what you want to write about. In the world of blogs, finding a niche is important. Decide on a small topic that you think is interesting and that you are an expert in (or are willing to learn). Third, start posting. I can't emphasize enough about trying to post consistently. If you decide to post once a day, try to hit that target consistently. Pick an interval which you find comfortable and go for it. Fourth, start reading blogs. Devour them. Find the time to sit down and read blogs. It's the only way to really understand the culture of blogging. After you're keeping up with more than 5 blogs, use a feed reader (a fancy term for an online service that let's you easily keep up with many blogs; think of it like an inbox for the web). I recommend using Google Reader: Personally, I keep up with 100s of blogs using my feed reader.

Fifth, start commenting on other people's blogs. Join in on the conversation. This is also a good way to market your own blog, as people will see your blog link in the comments. And finally, just have fun. Blogging has blossomed into a rich cultural medium. There are so many insightful bloggers writing about fascinating topics that you're bound to find something that captures your interest. Later on, if you want to start getting paid for blogging, you can consider putting ads in your blog (this only makes sense if you have enough readers). Or, you can go work for a blogging network like Weblogs Inc. ( I used to write for them at and got paid $4 a post. I got some pocket money, but also learned a lot about blogging and writing on a daily basis with an awesome team spread across the country. And, if you're curious about what I'm doing, here are some of the sites that I run: -- an index of web startup companies. I also write a technology blog at, but haven't had much time recently to post. -- An aggregator I wrote to automatically cluster blog posts into conversations. -- My photoblog. -- My personal blog; sparsely updated. -- My personal video blog, but again, haven't had much time for it. Fun while it lasted. Anyway, let me know if you have any more questions. And happy blogging!! Best, James Yu

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