In this intro to blogs lesson, learn all about what a blog is, who blogs, and why you should blog if you're interested in it.
Chances are you've heard about blogging. You may have heard a story about a blogger uncovering information about a politician or controversial subject. Maybe you've even read a book or seen a movie based on a blog. What exactly is a blog, anyway?
In this lesson, you'll learn about blogs and bloggers. You'll also get a look at a few common types of blogs and explore the reasons why people blog.
A blog is a type of website that is updated regularly with new content. Most blogs contain short, informal articles called blog posts. These posts usually contain some combination of text, photos, videos, and other media. At its core, a blog is just a space on the Web that you can create to record and express your opinions, experiences, and interests.
If you spend much time browsing the Web, you've probably read a blog post before, even if you didn't realize it at the time. Some of the most-read blogs are a bit like online magazines because they're written by a team of people who are paid to update the blog with new posts several times a day.
However, a majority of blogs are written by one person. As a result, the average blog is fairly personal, reflecting the interests and personality of the person who writes it. This is the type of blog we'll focus on in this tutorial.
The people who write blogs are called bloggers. From what you hear on the news, you might think bloggers are all a certain type of people—young, politically inclined, and tech-savvy. Or maybe you've heard about bloggers who've written about amazing experiences or ambitious projects, then turned their blogs into bestselling books. While some bloggers do fit these descriptions, a majority of bloggers don't. In fact, there's no "average" blogger—blogs are written by people of all ages and backgrounds and from all walks of life.
Review the infographic below to learn more about bloggers.
As you saw in the infographic on the last page, most bloggers consider blogging a hobby. It can be a fairly time-consuming hobby, as many bloggers spend several hours each week writing blog posts, replying to comments, and more. So why do they do it?
For their State of the Blogosphere 2011 Report, the people behind Technorati.com conducted a survey of more than 4,000 bloggers. Here are some of the most common responses bloggers gave when asked why they blog:
No matter what their main reason for blogging is, most bloggers have at least one thing in common: They're passionate enough about a topic to write about it over and over again, usually for free. If there's a subject you care deeply about, you might enjoy blogging about it. When you have your own blog, you have unlimited space and freedom to express your opinions and discuss the things you care about with others.
Another reason some people blog is to earn money. People earn money from their blogs by hosting advertisements, selling products, or publishing their blog posts in the form of a book or printed articles.
The media often reports on bloggers who have done this successfully, turning their blogs into careers and even a book and movie deals. While it's fine to try to earn money from blogging, you should be aware that these success stories are very rare.
You may see advertisements for services that promise to help you make your blog profitable with little effort. However, making money this way is not as easy as it may seem. Many bloggers write for years without ever earning a cent from their blogs. Keep this in mind as you begin blogging.
A blog can be about literally anything. There are people blogging about every topic imaginable, from their political views to their pets. Think of any interest or hobby, no matter how unusual or specialized—there's bound to be an entire community of blogs devoted to discussing it. Although it's impossible to list all of the subjects people blog about, there are certain topics that are commonly covered.
Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn about a few common types of blogs.
Enjoying the Small Things is an example of a personal blog, a type of blog that discusses a blogger's life. Here, Kelle Hampton posts stories and photos of her two daughters, one of whom has Down Syndrome. Blogs about parenting are sometimes called mommyblogs.
Smitten Kitchen is an example of a hobby blog, a blog that documents a particular hobby the blogger enjoys—in this case, cooking. Blogger Deb Perelman posts her own recipes complete with photos.
Tobacco Road Blues is an example of an interest blog, a blog focused on one particular topic. Basketball fan Shane Ryan edits this blog, which covers the rivalry between the University of North Carolina and Duke University.
Campaign Tracker is an example of a political blog. Journalist Jim Morrill posts short, timely reports about news in North Carolina politics. Most political blogs have a strong point of view. Political bloggers write to express their opinions and influence policy.
Only Half Kidding is the photoblog of photographer Eliza Sohn. Some photoblogs focus on a particular place or subject, while others are simply collections of a photographer's favorite or most recent photos. Most photoblogs include very little text.
Lunch Bag Art is an example of a microblog. Microblogs are made up of short posts that often contain images or links. The blogger behind Lunch Bag Art is a father who posts photos of the daily drawing he does on his kids' lunch bags.