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The Blog

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The New Yorker



Occasionally referred to as "The Pirate Radio Stations" of the worldwide web, blogs rose to popularity around the turn of the twenty-first century. The blog currently serves as a writing outlet to over 15,000 new authors a day. Blogs allow internet users to create postings on virtually every subject using text, graphics, sound, and video with the convenience of instantaneous publishing. Usually short postings in reverse chronological order, blogs can be found on almost every conceivable topic from radio critiques to recipe sharing. Blog readers can reply to these posts in comments, giving writers feedback from a public they may not ordinarily have access to. The tool allows amateur writers to improve their skills by receiving feedback, and by giving them a regular outlet to practice in. For those without the skills or resources to be published, blogging is "the only outlet many have".

"weblogs are the pirate radio stations of the Web, personal platforms through which individuals broadcast their perspectives on current events, the media, our culture, and basically anything else that strikes their fancy from the vast sea of raw material available out there on the Web. Some are more topic-focused than others, but all are really built around someone's personal itnerests. Neither a faceless news-gathering organization nor an impersonal clipping service, a quality weblog is distinguished by the voice of its editor, and that editor's connection with his or her audience" - Jesse James Garrett quoted in We've Got Blog


The original weblog community was made up of "focused like-minded participants, programmers, and developers whose shared experience was mastery of a complex operating system, [and possessed] a willingness to endure technical hurdles, and an almost secret common language" in short, they were techies who used their computer programming skills to create pages of self-published critiques of web-based information and articles. There is great speculation around which blog came first, or if there even is a "first blog". Potential first blogs include David Winer's "Scripting News" and Mosaic's "What's New" page. In early 1999 Jesse James Garrett, one of these elite original programmers compiled a list of all the weblogs he could locate on the internet, there were 23. These "filter-style" blogs were all fairly similar and followed a basic format of article link, a critique or response written by the blogger, and a space for reader comments.

Within a year of this report, the number of weblogs had grown exponentially, a shift that can be attributed to the development of programs like Blogger, Edit This Page, and Velocinews which eliminated the need for a blogger with programming skills and opened up the world of weblogging to the average internet user. As blogging became easier it also became more popular, and the subject matter more vast. Personal blogs, or web diaries, exploded and suddenly anyone and everyone could publish their material online. By October 2000 over three hundred new blogs were being created daily.

As an Occupation

Although the majority of bloggers are non-commercial, thousands of bloggers have found more than web fame in cyberspace, they have discovered a way to make a living. As blogs grow in popularity, corporations prove eager to use the medium as an advertising outlet. Additionally, many webloggers use their sites to promote an already established business or to create and establish a new venture.

As a Tool

For Writers

Because bloggers are able to publish their work instantaneously and receive feedback with the same rapidity, blogging serves as an indispensable tool to writers attempting to improve their writing and gain exposure.

For Teachers

Blog use in the classroom is gaining popularity as it becomes increasingly clear that the writing produced through blogging is of an arguably higher quality because of the immediacy of publication, the benefits of community feedback, and the ability to link thoughts to outside web sources.

For Librarians

As the technological age brings Institutional Change in the Field of Librarianship library blogs are becoming an increasingly preferred medium for librarians to share important information with their audience, replacing the newsletter of days past. Today's librarians are using library blogs to share information from everyday library services to personal values and prevalent news and notifications on the enterprise.
Library blogs are particularly popular in the Special Library, as they are more likely to need to share articles, referrals, and notable reports to their patrons. According to one study, the average medical library blog is maintained by 2-4 contributors who share an average of 2-4 individual posts monthly.

The largest problem faced by library blogs is a lack of consistent feedback and viewership. Although librarians are saving time and funds by choosing to publish their work in a blog as opposed to a printed newsletter, only 1 of 22 librarians recently surveyed shared that they received regular patron feedback on their blog.

The Blogosphere

The term "blogosphere" refers to the range and scope of blogs that an internet user encounters. Every reader has their own unique "blogosphere" based on their interested and the blogs they encounter that fall into these interests.