11. Blogs, or Web log journal
sites, fun to surf
By Mark Alberstat
HERE A BLOG, there a blog, everywhere a blog blog. It seems blogs are
exploding over the Internet like run-on sentences in a high school essay.
For those reading this column who don't know what blogs are, a brief
explanation is needed. Blogs, short for Web logs, are Web sites that an
individual sets up as an online journal/log of his or her thoughts about
and journey through the Internet.
Blogs, which are almost always non-commercial, are often updated daily and
reflect the personality of the individual. Blog sites often contain links
to other Web sites that the author finds interesting and wants others to
know about. It is this logging of Internet activity that makes the blog
different from a simple online journal.
The word "blog" can also be used as a verb meaning to update a blog Web
site. I started a blog while writing this column, call it a real-world
test for the blogger-set. At the bottom of this column you can find the
URL for The Mousepad's very own blog.
Some people believe that Mosaic's What's New page in 1993 was the first
Web log. This page was a list of links and information that some of the
Mosaic staff thought was of Interest and wanted disseminated. These few
pioneers, however, did not call themselves Web loggers or anything of the
sort. That term was coined in 1997 by Jorn Barber on his Robot Wisdom
page, which is still running and can be a lot of fun to peruse.
By 1999 the media, computer columnists and others started noticing the
growth of blogs and writing articles on them. That same year saw the
release of several programs that made blogging easy, freeing the user from
a requirement of in-depth HTML and Web server knowledge that was
previously needed and kept the bloggers to a small minority of Internet
gurus who knew their way around servers and coding.
Blogger was also released in 1999. This interactive Web site gave users
the easiest way yet to publish blogs.
Today, blogger.com is a thriving company/Web site owned by Google and
hosting hundreds of thousands of blogs. The simplicity of use and a large
selection of templates has made this site immensely popular.
Like all facets of the Internet and computing, blogs are developing and
morphing into something new. Originally, they were lists of Web sites.
Then they became online Internet journals. Today some blogs even have
audio components so you can hear the individual muse about certain sites
or happenings instead of just reading their postings. AudioBlogger is one
such service and currently costs $3 US per month. Not a bad price for the
What does the future hold for blogs? No doubt hundreds of new blogs will
be created by the time the next Mousepad column appears in two weeks. Some
of these will feature audio components. Some might even be slightly
interactive, asking people where they are from and how they found their
blog. Some might even feature small snippets of video grabbed from the
blogger's Web cam to give you that extra personal touch. Some people are
compelled to spread their views on things and pass along interesting bits
of info and the current blogging tools and ability is just the place for
On the Web:
(Tripod's Blog Builder page)
www.blogger.com (Grand daddy of
blogging Web sites)
The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community
Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about
computing, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your question in
a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.
Originally published 22 June 2003