What’s your story?

By now, you’ve heard people everywhere talking about their blogs, but you’re not really sure what they’re talking about? No problem! By the end of this page, you’ll know all about blogs, how to find the most interesting blogs on the web and maybe you’ll even be inspired to start your own!

What is a blog?

The term “blog” was actually coined by fusing the original term “web log” into a single word. Generally speaking, blogs are journal or diary-style entries but they may also include photos and links to other blogs or other web sites. Blogs can be personal in nature, like the profiles found on Blogger and WordPress or they can be more educational or professional in nature, like the blogs published by businesses like Microsoft and organizations like Education Week.

Moving away from the traditional sense of a blog, microblogging has become increasingly popular even though posts are limited to small sentences, pictures, and links to different posts and content.  Twitter is probably the most notable microblogging site setting the standard at 140 characters or less, but Tumblr is not too far behind with photo “tumblelogging ” being one of its most widely used features.

Where can I find the most interesting blogs?

If you want to find and follow blogs on topics that interest you, there are several web sites that index blogs and allow you to search by topic, author, keywords or other advanced search parameters. The search engine giant Google offers a Blogsearch tool and Technorati.com offers a subject-based index of categories such as travel, books, sports and politics. Blog-search.com also indexes blogs by subject and includes categories such as gardening, home repair, social issues and the environment. You can also find personal blogs on social networking sites like Facebook  to share all of those details about how you’re going to change the world!

I want to start blogging. What do I need to know?

Basically, your blog is your own piece of the Internet, and you can put just about anything you like on it. Your blog can be a journal of your experiences or a place for you to talk about your hobbies, passions or pet peeves. To help you get started in creating your blog, you may find this slideshow from Blogger.com helpful.

Once you set up your blog account (and read the Terms and Conditions) on the blog site of your choice, you’re ready to start adding content. However, to protect your privacy and safety online, you must be careful in determining how much personal information to disclose in your blog. Unless you select options with your blog service provider that will keep your blog private, you must remember that anyone with an Internet connection can find and view your blog.

Employers and college recruiters have recently begun to consider an applicant’s reputation in cyberspace along with their achievements and character in the real world to determine if that applicant is a good fit for the company or the school. Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire, shares information and tips about the ways your online activities can affect your education and career on abc.com. Additionally, if you have teens that are active bloggers, you may also want to check out a list of safety and guidelines developed by Myspace (yes, they are still around).

Blogging Resources

Google Blog Search: Use Google’s search engine technology to find blogs organized by topic. Search results include blogs from Google’s Blogger.com, as well as blogs from around the world in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and more.

Blogger: Create and customize a blog on Blogger.com. Then you can post your thoughts and share photos with the world, or keep them all to yourself with a private blog.

WordPress: For open-source power whether you’re blogging for business or pleasure, WordPress can get you started. Their 10-step walk through guide can take you from “zero to hero.”

LiveJournal: This is an online journal service, but you can also use the site for social networking by participating in “communities” with people that share your interests. To help you get acquainted with the service, you can take a tour of LiveJournal.

Facebook: Use Facebook to connect and share with family and friends. Facebook allows you to share your profile with the world or limit the people that can access your photos, stories, videos and contact information to a small group of approved users.

Twitter: Initially thought of as a way to peek into celebrities lives, Twitter has gained momentum in the microblogging arena making it easier for people to keep up with their “tweeps.”

Tumblr:  “The easiest way to blog” on the web, Tumblr offers a variety of themes that allow you to customize your peronal “tumblroll” and even offers a feature to call in your posts.