FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2005


THE DOC IS IN...

Welcome to the blogosphere

Welcome to the Blogosphere. This could be a part of cyberspace with which you may not be familiar, but it is becoming a phenomenon to be reckoned with.

The Weblog or “blog” started out as a personal web journal or diary used by individuals to express their personal opinions or thoughts on any of a vast number of topics. After all, everyone has something to say.

There are blogs on photography, plants and, of course, politics. Some still are very simple, like a single web page that expresses one person’s feelings about a subject.

Others are very complex and feature the thoughts of a large group of individuals. Arianna Huffington , a recent guest on Charlie Rose, discussed her new blog, www.huffingtonpost.com, which has all the complexity of a newspaper.

One of the differences between a blog and a personal web site is that blogs are designed to encourage an ongoing commentary between the writer and their readers. The blog “fastlane.gmblogs.com” had an article by General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz that received 60 comments by readers.

A feature article in the May 2, 2005 copy of Business Week, “Blogs will change your business,” implied that any business that did not have its own blog to communicate with their customers and elicit their feedback would be at a competitive disadvantage in this very competitive world.

And it was the blogosphere that exposed the problems with the recent Dan Rather broadcast and its questionable documentation. So, blogs are becoming very important in this era of instantaneous communications.

So, how do we find these blogs? Google, of course. Searching “photography blogs” and “political blogs” brought up hundreds of hits. As you see, there are zillions of these individual and group blogs out there in cyberspace. Many have new types of addresses, like “fastlane.gmblogs.com,” or “decksitters.my-expressions.com” while others look like standard web addresses. Try a Google search yourself and try to find a blog on a subject of interest to you.

How does a person start a blog? Again, simple. A Google search of “start a blog” lists hundreds of sites that will set up a personal blog, some for free while others have low cost options for added complexity. Two very popular sites are www.blogger.com and www.typepad.com. Visit either site to get a good explanation of how blogging works. You might be tempted to start your own blog.

A fascinating example of a blog is www.wikipedia.com, an online encyclopedia that is constructed by the inputs of its thousands of readers. Someone starts a topic with an explanation. Then someone else posts a comment like, “I agree, but you forgot to mention …” Then the next person says, “I don’t agree, it should be …,” and so on. Eventually, the blogosphere comes up with an explanation that most everyone agrees with. Democracy in action in cyberspace.

If nothing else, the blogosphere is interesting. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some very interesting and funny things going on out there. Give it a look and have fun.

If you would like to hear more about the blogosphere, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

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Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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