Forget hand-written letters, long-distance calls and e-mail. When it comes to keeping in touch with family and friends, you can’t beat the convenience of blogging. A blog — from the term Web log — is basically an online journal. You write something new, which shows up at the top of a webpage so readers can easily find it. Depending on how you set up your blog, people can respond to and comment on what you’ve written.
But what if you’re someone who still struggles to program the video recorder? Don’t worry — setting up a blog is a piece of cake.
1. The first thing to consider is why you’re starting a blog. You can keep a blog to record what’s happening in your life and write about whatever comes to mind. Friends and family can then check your blog to see what you’ve been up to. Alternatively, you might prefer to focus on a topic or theme. Do you have strong opinions on politics or the environment? Do you have a hobby you’d like to share with others?
2. Next, you need to decide where to set up your blog. Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal are very popular. Friendster and MySpace also offer free blog hosting. If you’re an absolute beginner, Blogger requires very little effort to set up a new blog. If you plan to blog about more personal thoughts, LiveJournal allows you to restrict who can see what you’ve written.
3. Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal have easy-to-follow instructions on how to get started. You’ll be asked to create a username and password, choose a URL for your blog and select a template. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is what to call your blog.
4. Once you’ve set up your blog, all you need to do is write your first entry…and then keep writing new stuff regularly. It’s that easy. Oh, and don’t forget send your family and friends a link to your blog — if you want them to read it!
5. Once you’re comfortable with basic blogging, you may want to publicise your blog. Leave comments on similar blogs with a link back to yours. Add your blog to blog portals, such as PinoyBlog and Rice Bowl Journals.
6. Now that you’re a blogger, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. If your blog is public, be careful of divulging personal information. Determine how much privacy you want to maintain. Consider using pseudonyms when writing about work or other people, and don’t publish their photos if you think they might object. You should also respect copyright — don’t use images and text that don’t belong to you.
Blogging can be a fun and easy way to keep in touch with family and friends, and to find people around the world who share your interests. All you need is an Internet connection and something to say — definitely easier than programming the VCR.
Rice Bowl Journals: www.ricebowljournals.com