Introduction to Blogs

What is a blog?

A blog is an online publication, often in the form of a journal or diary with entries listed in reverse chronological order, but blogs can also look like conventional websites. The term blog is a shortened version of web log. Blog software makes it easy for people to post stories or articles, including images, audio, and video, on the Internet. Blogs can be publicly visible or private. See the New York Times article Blogs 101 for a list of examples of blogs. People who subscribe to blogs are called followers. Many blogs provide a way for followers to respond to the blog's content through publicly visible comments.

Popular blogging software

The majority of blogs run on blogging platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger. WordPress is an open source platform, meaning anyone can use the software for free, although many Internet Service Providers and WordPress.com offer paid services that make it easier to install and operate a WordPress blog. Tumblr also is a free service. Blogger is owned by Google and is available free of charge to anyone who has a Gmail account. There are many other free and paid blogging service providers.

History of blogs

From Wikipedia (as of March 25, 2014)

The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives....After a slow start, blogging rapidly gained in popularity. Blog usage spread during 1999 and the years following... By 2004, the role of blogs became increasingly mainstream, as political consultants, news services, and candidates began using them as tools for outreach and opinion forming.

Why blog?

A. J. Liebling, a journalist for The New Yorker, once famously quipped "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Blogs are the modern equivalent of owning a printing press, giving a voice to anyone who has ready access to a computer and the Internet.

Blogs can be seen as archives of human thought, and they provide a useful venue for authors and their fans (and foes) to engage in discourse. Blogs have also had an influence on minority languages, bringing together scattered speakers and learners. Likewise, blogs make it possible for niche publishers to find an audience, which might be prohibitively expensive through traditional printed publishing.

Blogs at NAU

In a university setting, blogs can provide a way for faculty to keep students and colleagues up to date on research projects and class projects. Students can use blogs to develop writing skills, and blogs can serve as portfolios of student work. Here are some examples of blogs at NAU:

iwrite@nau
Part of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program, this blog offers tips for students on why and how to write
Green NAU
A blog about sustainability at Northern Arizona University
Plaid
Information about student life at NAU