What is a Blog and how does it work?

Under this topic, we discuss what a blog is and how it works.

History of Blogs

The actual history of blogs in quite interesting.  It is remarkable that blogs have a relatively short history with the first blog, Links.net being created in 1994.  At that time the blog wasn’t referred to as a blog but rather a personal homepage.  It wasn’t until 1997 that the term weblog was created to reflect the process of “logging the web”.  Weblog was then shortened to blog in 1999 with the term being added to the Merriam-Webster five years later as word of the year.

The early 2000s were a period of growth for blogs – in 1999 there were 23 blogs in the internet, whereas by the middle of 2006 there were 50 million blogs.  It is amazing to see such a growth rate in the use of blogs to help understand where something that is now so common-place originated.

-Pam Perry

References:

A Brief History of Blogging. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/03/a-brief-history-of-blogging/

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What is a Blog?

What is a blog?

A Blog or Web Log is, “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer (www.merriam-webster.com).  A blog is “a web page consisting of a series of entries, or posts, listed in reverse-chronological order” (Ekdale, Fung, & Perlmutter, 2010, p.218).

Why blog?

According to Ekdale et al (2010), people blog to:

  • document one’s life and experiences
  • provide opinion or commentary
  • express emotions in writing
  • articulate ideas in writing
  • form and maintain community forums for discussion

Types of Blogs

Blogs have been used for a number of different purposes:

  • Personal – Some people record their thoughts and ideas in a blog.
  • Travel – Instead of writing a paper journal, some travelers record their journey using a blog to keep track of where they have been, to reflect upon what they have seen, or where they would like to visit next.
  • Political – journalists, writers, and students have used blogs to argue, debate, present different points of views, and exchange political ideas and different points of view.
  • Education – teachers and students are now using blogs as a teaching aid or learning tool.
  • Other – there are blogs about cooking, how to be a mother, how to buy a car, hobbies, famous people, sports, etc.

Popular Free Blog Websites

There are a number of free blog sites that anyone can sign up for free: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/best-free-blogging-sites/#!zftCg

Getting Started

All you have to do is have access to a computer and the Internet to create an account and start making posts to your blog. If you have questions, there are help support features, such as video tutorials, text instructions, and contact e-mails that you can access to show you how to establish and maintain a blog.

Education and Blogs

As discussed in Meinecke et al (2013), “blogs and similar forms of online discussion groups are becoming increasingly popular as an educational technology for teaching and learning” (Meinecke, Smith, and Lehmann-Willenbrock, 2013, p.429).  Within the educational context, blogs can be used to:

  • Reflect upon concepts and theories discussed in class
  • Promote discussion between groups of students, and students and teacher
  • Organize and archive information related to a specific topic or project
  • Teach learning content

References:

Ekdale, B., Namkoong, K., Fung T. and Perlmutter, D. (2010). Why blog? (then and now): exploring the motivations for blogging by popular American political bloggers. New Media Society, 12(1), 217-234. doi: 10.1177/1461444809341440

Meinecke, A., Smith, K., and Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2013). Developing Students As Global Learners: ”Groups in Our World” Blog. Small Group Research. 44(2), 428-245. doi: 10.1177/1046496413487020

– James Cantafio