The year is 2013 AD. The Y2K scare is but a distant memory. The era of the boy band has long since passed. The awe of watching humanity land a $2.5 billion robotic laboratory the size of a car on a planet 350 million miles from Earth has been pushed aside. And bacon, zombies, and cats are now the undisputed kings of the Internet.
How did we arrive at a place where cured pork products, reanimated corpses, and indifferent house pets demand so much of our attention?
In the beginning, as citizens of the Internet, we were primarily content consumers. It was a one-way conversation between static pages on our computer screens and us. With the advent of chat rooms and message boards, we were able to begin interacting with our fellow Netizens. We now had places to promote discussion and discourse on any topic imaginable. We became content producers.
Chat rooms and message boards gave their users a sense of entitlement. Contributing to a conversation with people across the globe about a topic you love was an exciting prospect. We all wanted our voices to be heard. However, with the unruly Wild West nature of early chat rooms and message boards, it was easy for one’s voice to be lost in a sea of unrelated comments. Discussions that began as interesting and civilized would often devolve into pages of childish name-calling.
This opened the door for a more focused and organized way of sharing one’s passions with the online world: the blog.
A blog (short for “web log”) allows complete ownership and control over what we want to say to the world. Blogs can be used for personal diaries, product announcements, instructional videos, movie reviews, marketing tips, collections of images of weird cloud formations… the sky is truly the limit (pun intended). There’s a blog for any topic.
Think of a blog as your own personal magazine. You’re the copy writer, editor, layout designer, publisher, and comment moderator. Each article of your magazine is a blog post, and your readers are your blog’s subscribers. Those who subscribe to your blog typically do so by either adding his/her e-mail address to a mailing list on your blog, or by consuming the blog’s RSS feed. Each subscriber will immediately receive a copy of each new article you add to it. Instead of getting one magazine in the mail per month, your readers are getting one article from your magazine immediately when you publish it.
You’re probably saying, “But how can people find my blog about my favorite vegan cat nip recipes?” Popular blogging software like WordPress, Blogger, Movable Type, and LiveJournal typically index their blogs based on your content and how you’ve tagged and categorized each of your blog posts, and this allows your blog posts to appear in their search engines and let people find you based on common interests.
You’ll also typically have social network integration built in to the blogging software that allows you to notify your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, etc. of each new blog post. And let’s not forget the possibility of being indexed by Google and potentially appearing in millions of search results.
So, if you feel the urge to talk ad nauseam about why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a social commentary on capitalistic society, or if you’ve discovered a subliminal message in the song “What Is Love” from those 90s SNL sketches, or if you simply must get the word out that The Matrix is real, just blog about it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to update my blog about my zombified cat named Bacon.