Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why not a Blog? Try Blogger

About five years ago I was at a meeting in California where I heard people talking about “blogging” and “blogs.” I quickly grasped that it was some form of writing that was distributed on the World Wide Web. I stopped at the local Border’s Books and found a thin book titled The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog, by Rebecca Blood. Upon my return home, I passed the book on to my sons, then 13 and 18 years of age. A few days later, the boys showed me their new Blog. Lesson learned: Sometime the quickest way to learn about a new technology is to let your kids figure it out.

Right now, you are reading one of my Web logs or Blogs. To me, Blogging is a quick, easy way to create content on the Web. In basic terms, a Blog is a web site where you write content on an ongoing basis. Thus, my content is readily accessible to anyone with Internet access using a browser, most likely Internet Explorer or Firefox (my preference). The Web 2.0 tool I use is Blogger – part of the many Web tools from Google. Blogger is simple to use and it is free.

To get started your first create a free account. Next, you name your Blog and then choose a template from a large selection of designs. Once you have the look set, you add written content by “posting” to you Blog site. You can also add some basic graphics and create a list of hot links. Your newest stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new first. Older content is still viewable, either by scrolling down or by clicking on archive links. One of the best things about a Blog is that all of the content is available at one place. On this Blog, I also encourage people to go directly to Web tools that I have written on by clicking on resource links (top left).

Visitors may comment on any posting. But, Blogger has some limitations. The Blogger who sets it up is the only one who can directly post on that Blog. Also, Blogger is not very friendly to Rich Media, such as video. There are plenty of Blogging tools out there, but the more powerful ones, such as TypePad or WordPress are more complex and they require a modest payment. Blogger can get you up and going quickly.