Every episode of Star Trek had at least one scene where you’d hear the words, “Captain’s log. Stardate…” and then Captain Kirk would recount current events on the Starship Enterprise. Today, Kirk would be a blogger.
With the advent of the Internet, we all became the captains of our own little laptop, or desktop, starships. And blogs followed shortly thereafter as ways of posting the events and activities of our lives, our work, our opinions about the world around us.
Even now, a good 15 years after the first blogs were posted, with more than 70 million blogs and counting (that figure was an estimate at the end of July 2005) floating around in cyberspace, there are a lot of people who don’t know what a blog is. Ask someone, “have you read my blog?” and see what kind of reactions you get.
I’ve had folks look at me they way my mom looked at my granny when she came to visit, reached in her purse for a little glass vial, and asked if we wanted to see her gallstones. Ew.
I’ve had people do that funny thing where they pretend they know what you’re talking about because they don’t want be condemned as technologically backward.
If you are an Internet junkie, or a writer, or involved in marketing or media, you probably know exactly what a blog is. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but it seems to me that we’re just expected to “know” what all these new techie things are without explanation or instruction.
After you’ve asked a few questions (like, what do LOL and IMHO mean?) and gotten “the look” from your texting-saavy teenager, or had the guy at the computer store politely roll his eyes before responding to your perfectly good questions about flash drives, you just don’t want to ask anymore. It’s embarrassing, and it makes you feel old and outdated. And they might label you as a “noob.” Which is an insult, in case you were wondering.
In the interest of the public good, let’s have a mini blog lesson today. There are, of course, blogs about blogging now, but that’s not what I want to share. This isn’t about how to blog, or what to blog, or when to blog, but
WHAT IS A BLOG?
Obviously, if you’re here, you already know what a blog is, but it’s my hope that you’ll be able to pass this information on to your less techie-educated friends and family members, or at least have a quick, easy answer for people who want to know what you’re reading!
The word “blog,” according to Wikipedia
, is a shortened version of the word weblog
. The modern blog evolved from the use of personal journals posted online to public posts you can subscribe to the way you might subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, receiving updates to the blog via e-mail. You might think of a blog as a newspaper column, like “Dear Abby,” with frequent updates and a devoted readership (all bloggers hope for this!).
Today, there’s a blog to fill every possible niche, quirky interest and stranger hobby of humanity. Some bloggers use advertising, or other means, to make money from their blogs. Other blogs are educational in nature, although one must constantly be aware that blogs are not necessarily unbiased sources of information.
There are microblogs like Twitter and Tumblr, photo-based blogs, audio based blogs (known as podcasts) and video blogging (vlogs). And there are blogs that combine all sorts of posts. Family blogs might provide pictures and updates of growing kids for far away grandparents. Businesses can blog (yes, it’s also used as a verb) about their latest products, sales, or promotions.
So the next time someone asks, “Wanna see my blog?” Don’t fear. They don’t want to show you a bodily oddity (we hope). Go ahead and type in that blog address and see what they have to say!