Spring Into Blogging

Where memories bloom forever

by becky berg

Blogs. You’ve heard of the word, perhaps read a few blogs online, but probably have a hard time actually defining this mysterious techno word. The term blog comes from web + log = BLOG. A blog is basically an online journal where individuals share information including text, photos, links, and videos. Blogs consist of postings that are archived in chronological order, with the most recent post located at the top of the page. Like many Web 2.0 tools, a blog can be many things. I know many people that use their blog as a private journal. Others have thousands of online viewers that read their blog, with hopes that viewers will click on the affiliate and sponsored links surrounding the perimeter of their postings. Whether you want a private blog or you have information to share with the world, blogging has a great deal of potential for anyone.

I enjoy reading blogs that are done by those who are an expert on their topic AND are passionate about the information they are sharing. For example, I have a blog entitled “I Google, You Google”. In this blog I share tips, tricks and tutorials relating to the various tools and resources Google offers. My postings have text, images, hyperlinks, and embedded video resources. I chose to do my blog on Google simply because I’m a Google fanatic and the blog encourages me to keep learning and sharing valuable information with others. When deciding what to blog about, you should ask yourself these 3 questions:

Is there a topic you are passionate about?

Are you a content expert on a topic?

Is there a subject area or topic you thoroughly enjoy writing about and sharing with others?

Recently, when asking myself these questions, the topic that came to mind was quite obvious…FAMILY. Most of us are more passionate about our families than anything else. Therefore, one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2009 was to create and post to “The Berg Family Blog”. Approximately twice a month, I post family happenings along with pictures, Picasa slideshows, and embedded videos. Not only is this a great way for us to stay connected with family and friends throughout the world, but it is becoming our own “family journal”. It’s a way for us to archive and remember important milestones and events.

How does one go about setting up a blog? There are many options for setting up your own blog. A few free tools for creating a Blog include Google’s Blogger (www.blogger.com ) and Word Press (www.wordpress.org). Both of these tools are free and allow you to create your own blog within minutes. You will begin by choosing a blog title and background theme. You will decide whether you want the Blog to be public (for the world to see) or shared with only the people you specify in your invitation list. Another feature in a blog is commenting. You can allow your viewers to comment on a post. At the end of a post, there will be a comment link the viewer can click on to add their own feedback and questions. For example, comments to a post might include: “Wow! Conner’s fish is bigger than he is!” Or “I love the video of Noah playing the guitar. He may be the next Elvis!”

Although I created our family blog, my husband also has editing rights so that he can post to this blog. The blog has become somewhat of a family affair as we often have the boys help us decide on the content in our blog. The boys have fun looking through digital family photos and videos, selecting those they would like to include in our blog. As our oldest son is in second grade, it is my hope that very soon I can encourage him to practice his writing and storytelling skills via this blog. What a great motivator it is for him to know that all of our family and friends will be reading his post. Even though our 5 year old cannot type his own postings, there is still great potential for his involvement in the blog. Noah has created his own podcast (.mp3 file created in Audacity) singing the “Scooby Doo Theme Song”. Now that would be a classic to add to a blog, don’t you think?

My vision for our family blog is that it will continue throughout generations of our family. I can see it now… the grandkids will be viewing the blog in the year 2030. I can just image their comments: “Can you believe that podcast of dad singing Scooby Doo back when he was five, he sounds just like me!” And look at Grandma Berg’s hairstyle in that video clip? Now that’s funny.”

For video tutorials and resources on the technical side of setting up a blog, go to igoogleugoogle.blogspot.com and view the Blog Posting on “Creating Your own Blog”. SFM

Becky Berg lives in Billings with her husband and two boys ages 8&5. She develops and facilitates various courses in the areas of technology and education. For additional information please email becky at becberg@gmail.com.