Monday, June 02, 2008

Why Not Try Setting Up A Family Blog?

Among the many new ways to communicate spawned by the digital age and the Internet are the millions or blogs that have arrived on the scene over the past decade or so. (You are reading one right now!) For those who may not know, a blog or a web log is a web site that allows someone to post information, ideas, news, views, rants and / or raves for others to read. In most cases the readers are encouraged to contribute reposnes or ideas.

There are literally thousdands of topics ranging from the pure junk to some outstanding insightful and articulate dicussions. And of course eveything in between. There are some that are hosted by the very tops in their field and by others who just like to read what they write. Finding the good ones is sometimes a challenge.

One of the blog applications some might consider is a Family Blog. With families dispersing around the country and around the world it is becoming harder and harder to keep everyone abreast of the latest birth or Uncle Pete’s “Hole in One.” Even with cell phones, time zone disparity can make it hard to stay in touch. If you have a large exrtended family you can get very tired of repeating the same news over and over again.

Setting up a family blog is easy and in most cases free. You must have access to a computer and Internet connection. The blogging software and hosting is free. Many people, me included, opt to use Blogspot. This is a free service of our increasingly ubiquitous friends at Google™.

In order to set up your blog on Google just go to https://www.blogger.com/start?hl=en and follow the directions. Google™ does a good job of walking you though the various tasks and getting you going. If you want, you can have an “Open” or a “Closed” blog. An open blog will allow anyone to read and see what you have posted. A closed blog is restricted to those people you have identified as having permission to read and post. For a family blog, you may wish to keep it closed. Remember, if it is “open”, anyone anywhere can read your stuff. So you may not want everyone to learn about that hurried trip uncle Fred had to take to Mexico when those guys in the black suits showed up asking questions at the corner bar. Keeping it closed will restrict access to that and other stories and information to the family.

If you do set up a family blog you need to make sure that all or most of the family members can and will use it. If your family is very computer literate and use email and the web regularly, it will be a great idea. If many in your family are not comfortable with using a computer or check their email once a month whether they need to or not, it might be better to stay away from using a blog.

Another way to use blogs is to find information and like-minded people. Let’s say that your passion is building model airplanes. A search of the blogs dedicated hobby will surface several interesting blogs from people from all over the world. Search for almost any topic. You will be amazed at the diversity of blog subjects.

To search for blogs you can use Google™. Just go to the Google™ home page and click on the “more” button at the top. It will bring up the blog search option.

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