Blogs, bloggers, and blogosphere. . . if those words still sound foreign, you’re not alone but the terms are becoming more and more familiar and are moving into our daily lexicon. Today, on the Laura Ingraham radio show, literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, credited the research and news making abilities of those inhabiting the “blogosphere” during a discussion of the newly released book Unfit for Command : Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. No attempt was made to explain the term. She said it in a manner that would indicate she assumes everyone understood its meaning.
The world of blogging came to the forefront of America’s consciousness earlier this year during Howard Dean’s campaign; however, there has been a growing intrusion into the media for a number of years. Newspapers are now adding blog columnists to their online editions; some even have “citizen” blogs. There’s no escaping the fact that information travels at record pace through the blogging community. Still, even those who are Internet savvy enough to know and understand websites, don’t quite know what to do about this whole blogging thing. But, with three million plus blogs, the expansion of the blogosphere into the vast arena of cyberspace is growing.
When I mention “blog” to most people, the immediate response is “What’s a blog?” This is quickly followed by “What’s the difference between a blog and a website?” The best way to understand and define the difference between the two is to simply visit blogs. They range wide in style, content, and entertainment. There are blogs for every kind of interest imaginable. Here are a few I enjoy. Writer Neil Gaimon has a great blog incorporated into his website, and Australian artist Claire Robertson’s blog Loobylu has gone through a series of wonderful transformations as she has grown as a blogger, writer and artist. Artists will enjoy Sketchblogs and appreciate the way the sketches are incorporated into the daily blogging. Booklovers will enjoy the unabashed Maud Newton blog. John Patrick, former IBM vice president of Internet Technology, has a terrific blog that not only keeps up with the latest in cyber-technology but also includes commentary about culture and lifestyle. The Waterboro Public Library has an active blog focusing on books that is worth checking out. For a nice mix of politics, local (Houston) happenings and sports, try Kevin Whited’s PubliusTx. The almost daily chronicles of our beloved “toy train” provide plenty of amusement. Personal blogs (Plogs) run the gamut from young Will’s Youngest of One, started as a class assignment, to the daily musings of Mark at Clear Lake Reflections, who does a nice job of mixing comments on the culture with daily activities and a dash of writing–oh, and of the ever-cute Emerson (for all you dog lovers out there). For a wide range of conversation, check out Professor Bainbridge’s blog where he talks current events, business, politics, religion, economics, law, and yes, folks, wine. Paul Dawn’s Hill Country Thoughts is a good example of a blog with a Christian theme. To keep me up to date on the growing use of blogs in the business community, I can’t leave out Wayne Hurlbert’s Blog Business World. Wayne’s blog has been a wonderful reference for me as he does a good job of explaining how the blogs work within the framework of the blogosphere and how they can be translated into many different ventures.
I hope you’ll take some time and visit these blogs. What do they have in common? What differentiates them? What type interests you as a reader? If you were to do a blog, what would be your content and style? Another aspect peculiar to the blogs, is the comment feature. You, dear readers, are able to offer immediate comment on what you’re read here, and I am able to benefit from your thoughts, comments, and suggestions. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me now and after your journey through the blogosphere. I’d love to find out what you think are the differences between a blog and a website.