Blogs are everywhere. We often hear reports of journalists being tipped off to a story carried by a blog, or we hear from friends about a blog that holds particular interest. But maybe you've never seen a blog and don't really have any understanding of what they are or how they work. Yet, it seems, there are millions of them out there. You realize that you're missing out on something and it's time to find out more.
Put in simple terms, a blog is a webpage with personal entries. The author of the page is called a blogger. The entries you find are posted in reverse chronological order so that the most recent entry appears first. In general, blogs are open to the public and anyone can read them. Most of the time, a blog is put out by a single author. Most of what you see on a blog is the blogger's stream of conscious thoughts of the day, plus any interesting links he may have come across.
The format of the blog is bare-bones, consisting of a main page with the author or blogger's entries. Each new entry rises to the top as others fall further down the page. There is often a sidebar containing links to other websites or blogs. How often the sidebar is updated depends upon the blogger.
The blog is the online equivalent of a diary or a journal. A blogger is free to discuss any topics that interest him or her. The focus of a particular blog will tend to reflect the views of the blogger. For instance, if the blogger has very left wing politics, he will have many links to topics, photos, and stories of interest to those with similar politics. If a blogger is interested in ballet, there will be links pertaining to dance and performance. Or perhaps a blogger is anxious to find out about alternative therapies for a particular disease—it's probable that you will find links on his blog to websites pertaining to this disease as well as the latest research on the condition.
Creating a blog is as easy as pie. Basic blog interfaces abound and anyone can create their own blog in about five minutes. It doesn't even cost anything. You fill out a form with your name and email address and other standard information, and that's that. Most blog interfaces give you a selection of templates to choose from so that you can customize your look.
At that point, you're ready to roll. Are you angry about the new economic reforms? Write about them and click the post button so everyone can read your views. You can even change what you've typed by clicking the edit button. When you've gotten your blog entry just as you want it, click the publish button. That means that anyone can read your views. Think of your blog as your own personal soapbox.