Craft of Writing
To Blog or Not to Blog
By Joyce Dixon
Weblogs first appeared in 1997 and were viewed as a replacement for mailing lists or personal web sites. These “web logs” were new programs that made editing and uploading easier than web pages for the novice. Yet, they didn’t really take off till 1999, when blogs were easier to view from mobile handhelds and worked well for announcement style journalism.
For BlogCon 2003, the Berkman Center of Harvard Law School with Perseus Development Corp. conducted a random survey of 3,634 blogs on the eight leading blog-hosting services (There are actually 4.12 million blogs on these eight services). The demographics showed that: 66% of the blogs had not been updated in the past two months and were labeled abandoned; 92.4% of the blog owners were under age 30; 56% of the blog owners were female; and 51.5% of the blog owners were between 13-19 years of age.
Whether you fall in the blog demographics or not, you have to decide if blogging is something you need to research the youth audience or to stay abreast of the changing medium for writers. The greatest growth group in blogging is political campaign sites. Obviously, Howard Dean and others know this is the means to reach the youth vote. Another blog success story is the use of blogging in writing classes. College level creative writing classes are using blogs as a means for instructor notes, submitting original work, and posting comments.
Business blogging is a current buzz. Authors are using their blog to promote their book, speaking schedules, and offer tips to others. Arts and crafts are being shown and sold through blogs. Marketing firms are using blogs as a tool for instant promotion. Journalists are using blogs as a tool for instant updates of the news.
The largest category of bloggers is personal journals, where the owner treats this as their daily diary. It can be successful if the blog owner composes personal essays, poetry, or short fiction. It can be painful if the blog owner gives their daily “to do list” from shopping for groceries to their recent stomach virus. It can be successful if they make the daily grind a humorous episode, but that is rarely the case. Another major problem with personal journal blogs is accepting the responsibility to post daily or at least every three days. It is this failure to post that is filling cyberspace with abandoned weblogs. Also, doing a personal journal blog requires an exhibitionist personality to a point. Do you really want this must information about you daily habits out there for the world to see?
Some weblogs have been created with the writer in mind. They offer writing tips, links to writing opportunities, publishing news and trends, and prompts to inspire a creative moment. Even if you don’t want to create your own blog, you will probably want to make these your favorites.
Project Blog: July 24-25, 2004
It’s a 24-hour charity event and it’s coming to a city near you. What’s it called? Project Blog.
Unofficially acting in the place of Blogathon, who can be credited for the idea behind Project Blog, people of all ages will be updating their personal websites for 24 hours straight, all in the name of charity.
With under a week until the 24-hour marathon begins, over $7000 has already been raised by over 100 individuals. Each participant in Project Blog picks their own charity, and then reaches out to friends, family, and complete strangers to sponsor them during their quest to stay up all night long.
Participants in Project Blog will be updating their websites with anything from original short stories and cartoons to playing a video game or reviewing movies the entire 24 hours.
Project Blog is excited to be a part of such an event, and looks forward to using the wonders of technology to raise money for the charities that are important to so many people.
For more information, please visit http://www.project-blog.org.
Recommended Books on Weblogs: