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2017-10-24 17:08
By William Roger Jones



Before Facebook and Flickr in 2004, Twitter 2006, Tumblr 2007, Instagram 2010, Whisper 2015, etc., there was the blog ― the platform that made it possible for non-techies to publish on the internet. Blogs have generated a tumultuous outpouring of “would-be writers.” If you grew up in the 1990s, chances are you probably considered one at some point ― an Open Diary in 1998, a LiveJournal or Blogger account in 1999, or later WordPress in 2003.

The blog will turn 24 years old in 2018. Justin Hall, while a student at Swarthmore College, started a web-based diary. Around the same time Dave Weiner began his Scripting News, so it has been debated as to which “protoblogger” earns the title of the founding father. Anyway, after a slow start, blog usage gained popularity and spread into the millions during 1999 and the years following with the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted blog tools.

I’ve yet to start a blog. However, I have a friend who has started one ― well, actually, it is more of a photoblog, but she is still working on it. It reminds me how in secondary school days we used to pass around a spiral-bound notebook listing our “favorite” things, such as foods, songs, movies, colors, teachers and subjects. In this way, our friends and others could find out what we were all about.

For all who have longed to publish themselves and reach readers/viewers 24/7 anywhere instantly, the blog or photoblog can give you a presence online wherein you are the chief executive copy editor and director of audience services, without a deadline. You may not have a face for TV or a voice for radio, but everyone has a mind for blogging.

You may make it public, but if you don’t want comment spam, you can restrict your audience to a small coterie such as family and friends who will not abandon you. Your blog may be like a ship’s log (a blog before it had the name), recording the daily progress of your journey through life (lifelog), something like an autobiography or your own private Wikipedia.

My friend’s pixels have introduced me to her family and friends. Her pixels have taken me to her home and workplace. Her pixels have taken me to Sweden and England and China, where I have not traveled before. The friendship allows me to experience the same things she is experiencing and share the moment. My friend has interested me in the electronic log. So, now, I shall enter the blogosphere as a scrivener and photo-essayist/journalist.

It is not a sisyphean task to run a blog/photoblog. There are so many content management systems, image hosting services and app software available to guide you. With a freestyle malleable format, fragments of your life pieced together over time will reveal yourself and what has meaning and importance to you in a particular place at a particular time. Your individual voice and vision deserves to be discovered. Remember there is only one you. Become less reflexive, join us, and become more reflective.

 

William Roger Jones (wrjones@vsu.edu) has taught conversational English for 15 years and presently works for Virginia State University.  

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