Blogging: is it for you?

Blogging: is it for you?

By: coopcom
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Consultancy Team

Blogging: is it for you?

Lawrence Cheung
Co-op Student

What is a blog?

A “blog” – short for “web log” – is a frequently updated web-based journal. Blog authors (often simply called “bloggers”) write on a variety of different subjects, ranging from serious subjects like news and politics to more whimsical topics like dating and fashion. Some blogs simply act as a sort of public diary for their authors.

Many blogs employ a casual writing style and contain less substantive content than other written forms. Others are written in a style not dissimilar from more traditional written media, such as magazines or academic journals. It all depends on the goals of the blog's author.

Blogs are easy to create, and there are a number of web-based services that can guide you through the process. Common free online blog hosting services include Blogger, Myspace, Wordpress, Xanga, Livejournal, Facebook, and Windows Live Space.

Blogs are especially popular among travelers. If you are on an SFU International Co-op posting, exchange or field school, you may want to consider creating a blog to share you experiences with your peers, friends, co-workers, and family. With blogs you can post anywhere and anytime, as long as you have computer with stable internet connection. Almost anyone can make their own blog, as long as they are over the age of 14 (per the Privacy Act).

There are two different types of blogs: personal and professional. Personal blogs provide information on such topics as hobbies, movies, gaming or online diaries. Professional blogs provide business updates, project development information or research results.

Why set up a blog?

Blogs allow you to keep friends and family up-to-date on whats happening in your life. They allow you to publish your work online, share experiences, goals, research, interests, thoughts and ideas, journal, make a presence on the web, showcase your company.

What do blogs do?

Blogs are like online diaries or news boards. They provide an efficient way to create a centralized place to send a quick email to let your contacts know where to find you. They are frequently updated web pages, and provide many tools that make interaction much easier (as compared with static web pages that only visitors to read existing content). Blogs are useful especially when out of town and phone calls are expensive or in circumstances when sending many emails becomes tedious.

What is the difference between a website and a blog?

Websites are usually made from scratch by web design professionals. For this reason they often look better than blogs, and may contain custom features. Professional companies and organizations usually maintain a website. Blogs, by contrast, are usually more dynamic than websites because most blogs provide an option to leave a comment on the article, send to friend, print or participate in poll. Blogs are easier to create than websites, as they do not require specialized technical knowledge to construct. Indeed, newer varieties of blogging software duplicate the user experience of familiar programs like MS Word, making the process of creating a blog even more accessible.

How do I know if I want a Blog or a website?

If you are not familiar with HTML code or web design applications, creating a website is probably not for you. Of course, web design skills can be learned, and there is are a variety of books, manuals and web-based tutorials that can guide you through the process. In general, however, if you are new to computers or just don't have time to build something from nothing, you should seriously consider a blog

Blogs can be customized in much the same way as websites. Most services allow you to choose from a selection of templates to change the look and feel of you blog, and you can even create your own. Making it yourself means that you have the ability to get exactly what you want. But be warned: "with great power comes great responsibility." (Spiderman). If you don't know how to code the document properly, chances are you won't be satisfied with the results.

Regardless of how you build your web presence, you have to be careful what you put online. Think before you post. Employers and professors can view you blog or website just as easily as your friends can. Indeed, employers now routinely check Facebook and MySpace profiles as part of the screening process for job candidates. As a rule of thumb, only post things you wouldn't mind your grandmother seeing.

Common Terminology:

Blogs: web logs, frequently updated websites that offer dynamic elements

Facebook: an online social networking utility used to connect with old friends, and co-workers, etc.

Instant messengers: programs like MSN Messenger, ICQ, Gmail Talk, AOL IM, YahooIM, and mIRC, which is like emailing but works very well when you're both online at the same time

Beyond the Article

Check out other articles about technology at work and at school, including Amanda Der's "Facebook Fanatics at Work?" and "E-mail Etiquette: from the kitchen table to your desk."

Ask questions and share your tips with other students on the discussion forums.

Posted on January 31, 2011