Culture of Words: Authors Harness the Power of Blogging

Amidst the unending debate as to whether or not today’s technology is destroying the face of literature, a simple truth has become obscured: today’s culture is one of the most intensely lyrical in history.

Look around you. At this moment, you’re in the process of reading words that are hosted online, a medium that is dominated by words. Granted, it’s hard to find a great masterpiece on the ‘net – but our literary culture doesn’t stop there. The most influential music in the last two decades has been hip-hop, music that is so lyrically dense it makes a sonnet look brief.

So here’s the whole point. Many writers today are viewing the online world as a necessary evil – the thing you do because you’re expected to. Author’s blogs and websites are usually the end-result of pressure to expand their “connection” to their readers. However, by taking a step back and looking at technology as a means to lead their own fan-club, writers can discover a whole new way to grow.

Blogging

In 2004, the number of blogs and online diaries worldwide reached into the millions – more than 5 million, to be exact. A web log, or “blog”, is one of the easiest ways to share information online. Blogging software helps you create a full webpage without knowing a single thing about web design or maintenance – you never have to mess with anything but your words.

Blogs are arranged in a “journal” format, which lets readers catch up on everything that you share in a linear way. You type the information you want to publish in a form, hit the publish button, and the blogging software creates everything from your current entry to your archive for you automatically.

There are many companies that provide blog services today, but one of the most popular is Blogger.com – a free service provided by Google. It costs nothing to create an account with them, and you can create as many blogs as you want.

What to Blog?

Our core idea here is to get your writing seen, noticed, and loved. The old idea that a writer must include something of themselves in their writing is nowhere more important than it is here. Let your own personal style shine through, allow your readers to see who you are behind your words.

Beyond that, you can blog about whatever you want. Make your life easier, though, and come up with a “theme”. If you could have a regular column in your favorite magazine, what would it be about? Think of your blog as a column which needs to be filled on a regular basis – monthly, weekly, or – if you’re really dedicated – daily. It should contain thoughts and information that are centered around a constant theme which brings your readers coming back again and again.

Some ideas:

âÂ?¢ Writer’s Journal – We all know the value of keeping a writer’s journal, and some of us actually do it. Why not keep it online, where others can share your thoughts with you? This is a sure-fire way to keep you motivated and writing all the time.
âÂ?¢ Tips – I could have said a specific kind of tip, but that would defeat the purpose of blogging. You know what you like, what you have enough interest in to write about all the time. Your “column” could be gardening tips, hints for home business owners, or even tips about writing.
âÂ?¢ Reviews – If there’s one thing all writers have in common, it’s a love for the “story”. From your latest read to the latest flick, you have tons of ammunition and when you write it well, you’ll get an audience that returns.
âÂ?¢ General Articles – Center your thoughts around a common topic, something broad but specific. For instance, a column on “hobbies” is broad, but not nearly specific enough to garner interest. Pare it down to “scrap booking” and you have created a specific theme that is still broad enough to allow you plenty of writing room.

Where To Blog?

Blogger.com (www.blogger.com) – The most popular blogging service, this one is completely free and allows you to set up as many blogs as you want.

WordPress.org (www.wordpress.org) – A very nice looking service that is well-known, making it easier to “get read”, WordPress is also free and full-service.

Blogzy.com (www.blogzy.com) – Free hosted blogging service with file and photo hosting that lets you easily publish your blogs and photo albums online.

Google Blog Search (blogsearch.google.com) – Not a blog host, obviously, but definitely something you’ll want to check out. You can search blogs that are currently running, and will soon be able to use a form to submit your blog.

Blog Terms to Know

Want to boost your knowledge about blogging? Here’s the terms you need to know.

Web host (FTP server) : The web host (or “FTP server” as Blogger calls it) is the computer where your website physically resides.

URL : The URL (“uniform resource locator”) is the webpage address of your blog.

Posts and posting : The entries that you make to your blog are called “posts,” and the process of creating and publishing those posts is called “posting.”

Archive : As you accumulate more and more posts in your blog, the older posts are moved to an “archive” where they can still be viewed, although they are no longer shown on the front page of your blog.

Permalink : A very important feature of blogging is that each post has its own unique URL, which makes it possible for people to link to your blog posts. This permanent post address is usually called a “permalink” (although this terminology varies from one blogging service to another). Blogger also uses the term “post page” to refer to the permanent webpage where a blog post can be found.

Template : The template provides the design of your blog (the posts are the content). Since the design and the content are separated, that means you can change the look of your blog at any time, without having to make any changes to the content you have published.

Comments : Many blogging services, including Blogger, allow people to make “comments” about the posts in your blog. You can decide if this is a feature that you want to use or not.

Group blogging : Although most blogs belong to specific individuals, there are also “group blogs” where more than one person is able to post to the blog.

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