What is a Blog? Blogs (or web-logs) are websites where you can post text and images each day. The most recent blogs are always shown at the top, with older entries falling off the bottom of the page.
How to blog? Blogging is supported by a blog system – an example is WordPress used here (see wordpress.com). To add new text or images it is necessary to log on – which makes editing password protected. New text is added by typing into a format created by the blog system, (a bit like creating e-mails,) and so the blog system automatically sorts out the appearance, as well as creating links for each day’s posting. Blog systems can help readers search for text, as well as allowing writers to ‘tag’ keywords so that blogs on similar topics can group together. If wanted, incoming comments can be held for moderation before being added to a site and published for a wider audience. Whether for personal, organisational or commercial reasons, the content, style and appearance of a blog will say much about the author – whether intended or otherwise. Being passionate about a topic can make a blog more compelling, but caution is needed to avoid the passion reaping a whirlwind in response!
Why blog? Blogging can be undertaken for personal reasons (to have a voice, expressing opinions on politics, sport, community or cultural matters), or for business or commercial reasons (to reach new markets, sound out new ideas, and develop marketing strategies). Sharing problems, advice and information can be of particular benefit to those with minority interests, where finding others with the same interest can be akin to searching for a snowflake in the Sahara.
Why am I bothering?
- It might just be that practiced use of blogging could become a tool for intuition – mixing rational thought, and creative spontaneity.
- Blogging offers an opportunity to provide information about Catch the Vision and business activity.
- Blogging holds the promise of wider debate on a range of issues.
- As a resource built up over time, blogging will offer a chance to look back and review progress.
When to blog? The general consensus is to blog regularly – whether daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly – so that the blogs can best be identified by search engines, and so the author can practice the skills and generate good habits.
How can I access a blog? This can be difficult. In the early stages of someone’s blogging, their content may not be picked up by the ‘Internet Spider’ and may not be offered in answer to a search on Google or whatever. The same thing can happen with websites – you know they exist, but you can’t get to them through the search box on a search engine. The answer can seem strange, but it’s workable if you know the full internet address. Just open up a clean page as if writing a new Word document. Then type in the full Internet ‘address’, (e.g “http://catchthevision.wordpress.com”). When you press Enter or Return, you will find that Word recognises the text as an ‘address’, making it blue. When you move the cursor over the ‘address’ the pointing finger should show and, (provided you have an Internet connection) if you click your mouse then you should go straight to the blog or website. No one has ever told me this, nor have I ever seen this written in any guidance. Presumably some people think this is too obvious, but to me it wasn’t and I hope it helps.
A ‘Cautionary Tale’! Blogging with the best of intentions may not be enough. After three months, over 1,000 visitors to this site, and receipt of many appreciative and generous comments, I’ve hit my first obviously negative response. To explain. When blogging on a topic, I’ve often sought out others whose blogs suggest they might be interested in my current blog – after all, isn’t the web-log there to allow people to exchange opinions on matters of common interest? Having located a suitable blog, I’d then leave a comment with this site’s Url, so the reader can track back if they wish (secure in the knowledge that they can always delete my comment if they prefer, so no harm done). Unfortunately I have left a comment on the site of someone who subsequently described himself as “A bitter, hateful man with nothing good to say about anything”. His site now contains some insulting stuff about me – not a big issue as I can easily avoid looking at his site – but he has said that my comment has been “Akismet’d”. Wikipedia defines Akismet as a spam filtering service, which combines information about spam captured on all participating blogs, and then uses the spam rules to block future spam. Wikipedia also advises that many bloggers have complained of commenters being wrongfully flagged as spammers – once a commenter is flagged as a spammer, it becomes difficult to participate on a wordpress blog which uses Askimet filter because comments are sent to the spam queue before approval or deletion. Wikipedia also defines ‘spam in blogs’ as the automatic posting of random comments or promoting commercial services to blogs etc, to artificially increase the site’s search engine ranking. Clearly this is not what my comments were about, and so Akismet is being used as a sledge-hammer to crack my comment/nut! So I will wait and see what happens from now on. Ironically the text written by the ‘bitter and hateful man’ on his site now includes words which automatically generated a hyperlink to this blog – giving much more prominent and easier access to this blog than if he had just accepted by comment with its Url in the normal course of events . . . . . . . What a spectacular ‘own goal’ that was?