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Online Campers: Throw Another Blog on the Wire (as printed in UVSC’s “College Times”)

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For those of you who don’t know, there is a revolution underway — and it’s underground. A movement of would-be journalists, reporters, and creative thinkers are publishing article after article, (some of them read by thousands of people a day) on the internet. These online writers are called “bloggers”, and the columns and articles that they write are called “blogs.”

If the mainstream news is provided by the more traditional sites along the information superhighway, (CNN.com, MSNBC.com, etc.) blogs are the frontage roads which enable the reader to go just as fast and reach the same destination all while getting the feeling of traveling the “road less traveled.”
The word “blog” comes from two words, actually; “web” and “log.” A blog is an online journal (web log) of sorts, except that the blog is shared with the world, not just future posterity.

It is easy to set up a blog. A person with the appetite to communicate his or her message with some electronic savvy, signs up for an account with a free online blogging service, such as Blogger.com, Radioland.com, or Livejournal.com. Once a username and password are assigned, the user then logs in to his or her account, and starts their first blog.

There are hundreds of thousands of active bloggers and subject content ranges all the way from “War with Iraq” to “sugar-water.com”, a college girl’s web log. If you have heard anything in the news or seen it in a movie, it’s been blogged. Some who blog do it solely for the purpose of establishing their own voice in the underground press. It’s a favorite pastime for many online users and has caught on so much recently that it’s been widely reported by such sources as CNN.com, Washingtonpost.com, and Foxnews.com.

There are also several notable celebrities who blog. Some of them include Anna Kournikova, William Shatner, and Sheryl Crow.

About eight months ago, I signed up with Blogger.com, and started my first blog, called “Innate Perspectives.” I soon learned that my articles could be organized by date, and that my older posts were “archived” with links to them from the homepage of my blog’s site. That blog has grown in size and scope, and I’ve since moved to a service called Movable Type (movabletype.org), which is slightly more complicated to set up and run, since it’s usually hosted locally (that means that you do the programming to keep it running, unless, of course you have some website-literate friends that can do it for you.) No matter what blogging service you use, it’s still pretty much the same thing; journalism from your personal computer.

Blogs are not as new as you might think. Here is a short timeline on the development of blogs:

1993- NCSA listed its favorite websites, in what would become standard “blog” format.
1997- John Barger coins the term “web log.” By this time, blogs were more than just a listings of other websites. They included personal journals, news commentary, and College Diaries.
1999- Evan Williams starts Blogger.com, which, to date, has over a million bloggers.
2001- Movable Type “MT” is introduced, and becomes the most powerful blogging software to date.

The future of blogging has been debated ever since its beginnings. Some blogging enthusiasts say that will eventually become the “new media”, one where news is filtered, debated, and then archived as newer subjects present themselves to be covered. But there are others who say that it is a fad, similar to BBS (archaic internet bulletin boards), which eventually gave way to the modern websites we have now. For the present, however, blogs are growing by the hundreds per day, and show no signs of stopping.

***I have to add an apendage, mentioning that the title to this article wasn’t soley my idea. I mean, it was my idea, but not first. The name was originally thought up by Geoffrey Harder. So all praise and credit to him for the article title. Check out his site and leave a nice comment.***

–Nathan writes his column “Innate Perspectives“, which is published on his website at www.nathanelson.com, and also in the UVSC “College Times”, in Utah.

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About Nathan Nelson