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Blogs (short for Web logs) are frequently updated Web pages or online journals within which authors post comments about news items, interesting Web sites, their pithy thoughts, and just about anything else. Blogs are part of the ongoing vanity publishing revolution that allows individuals to express themselves to the world. Not that the world cares, but it does allow millions of wannabee writers to share their typos and grammatical atrocities.
The first blog— though it wasn't called a blog at the time—was created by the inventor of the Web (no, not Al Gore), Tim Berners- Lee. In 1992, he began posting messages about the status of his newfangled gizmo called the World Wide Web, which included links to other online resources—an unprecedented development at the time.
In 1999, the first hosting services appeared that allowed non-programmer types to create their own online journals and share their thoughts by adding data without having to understand any of the underlying technologies. Since those early days, tens of millions of Web logs have been created. Over time, the term "Web log" evolved into "blog," and the pages themselves evolved from notes and links to other sites, to more editorial-based platforms.
Typically, the post author's nickname appears, though author identification can usually be found on an About page. It varies by blog, but readers are usually invited to leave their own comments and reactions to the author's post in a Comments section.
Readers must evaluate the credibility of a blog, just as they would evaluate information found on any other Web site. While most blogs are legitimate, some are hoaxes or fronts for scams. In addition, some marketing firms use blogs for commercial purposes, operating under the guise of a friendly personal blog, so beware of sales pitches masquerading as editorial content.
Part of the fun of blogging is to read a bit, click to another blog, read a bit more, then click again. If you are thinking that this sounds like it can consume a great deal of time, you are correct. Be sure to establish some time parameters for yourself.
Visit SeniorConnectionnewspaper.com/blogs to read Senior Connection's blogs.
"The Nerd" (aka "Mr. Modem") is an author, syndicated columnist, radio host, publisher, and proud father of four kitties. For information about his weekly computer-help newsletter, visit www.MrModem.com.