Blogs – What are Blogs? Before discussing the history of how Blogs and Blogging came about I think it is important to understand what a Blog is.
Simply, a Blog is a website which ususally belongs to an individual, however, Blogs are also used in the corporate environment as well for keeping customers updated with new products etc. Blog entries (also known as posts) usually provide information like commentry, things that have happened (social, political, personal, commercial etc) and posts can be made interactive using media like graphics and video. A Blog can also be interactive for the Blog writer and his/her audience because in most cases most Blogging software platforms allow comments to be made by users and the writer.
In terms of digital Blogging on the World Wide Web, there is some debate about when Blogging first arose, one of the first pioneers of Blogging as we know it today is a chap called Justin Hall who began Blogging in 1994 whilst he was a student at Swathmore College. In the abscense of Blogging software, early Blogs were a mish mash of components made up from common website technologies. As the popularity of Blogging has grown since 1994 the software to produce Blogs has also developed and now there are several different platforms users can choose from. For further information about the origins of Blogs and Blogging you may wish to visit the Wikipedia page by clicking here.
Blogging Technology – As noted above Blogging technology has evolved considerably throughout the years and is constantly changing, evolving and being updated. There are several different types of software you can use to produce a blog relatively easily, rather than list them all here, please visit this link for a more in depth look at the software. The most popular piece of software is WordPress which this Blog you are reading just now is built on. To give you an idea of the market share of Blogging platforms please consult the pie chart below:
Blogging software is also known as a Content Management System (CMS). Simply, a CMS allows you to manage and organise your workflow. In terms of Blogging platforms, the user is provided with an WYSIWYG style of interface which allows real time updates of posts and entries to a Blog.
Most hosting providers provide Blogging software like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla as part of a hosting package. However, rather than pay money for a hosting package you can still gain a Blogging presence by using free services such as Blogger. Free blogging services do have some disadvantages though, most free services can limit your choices of how your website looks, limit your customisation (plugins), databases etc.
Security – Whilst no website is 100% secure there can be a lot of security issues surrounding blogging software. As mentioned above, blogs can be customised using plugins. Plugins can provide some fantastic additional features to make your blog more interactive. For example you can get plugins which show Flickr photostreams, twitter posts, visitors online etc. However, as most plugins are written by individuals there can be issues with the code which is written to produce these plugins. In turn this can cause security flaws leaving your site open to attack by malicious individuals. WordPress regulary update the CMS, partly due to the evolution of the CMS itself, however, they update regularly to prevent malicious attacks by hackers.
Impact – Blogging has certainly changed the awareness of people all over the world. Before blogging we relied on news which was fed to us by the press (propaganda). Most countries in the world have access to the internet in some form or another which allows individuals to record events as they happen in real-time. However, in some countries where there is no such thing as a free media people risk their lives by posting information which is not censored by the state. At present there are reports of unrest in Syria and civilians have been posting information on blogs reporting to show different versions of events compared to the official line of the Syrian Government.
Future – According to a survey by Pew Blogging as part of the Social Media phenomenon appears to be in decline amongst younger adults as the landscape of Social Media changes. Moves to sites like Facebook (which can be considered to be a microblog) appear to be more popular amongst younger adults.