The word ‘blog’ is a concatenation of the phrase ‘web log’. Blogs first started appearing on the internet around 1998 and quickly became a very popular web tool. The first blogs started as online diaries or journals. More recently blogs have also been used by news organisations to provide editorials on news stories, by public figures who want to share their thoughts and ideas to a wide audience, and in a variety of other ways.
Inside a blog any authorised person can write messages called ‘posts’. These posts are then published, allowing them to be read by the blog audience. The blog audience can be everyone or it may just be authorised readers. Posts are automatically arranged in reverse chronological order, so the newest posts are listed at the top. Posts often contain images, videos and other files.
Blogs normally allow readers to comment on the issues that the author has brought up in the blog post, encouraging online dialogue. Readers can usually be notified of new posts by e-mail or by using a RSS feed (we’ll be posting information on what an RSS feed is at a later date).
Authoring a blog does not usually require knowledge of web programming languages. There are a number of popular free blog tools available (e.g. http://www.blogger.com and http://www.wordpress.com). You can also use Expo in Blackboard to set up your own blog which is only visible within SHU. Visit the student knowledge base to find out how.