By Mark Taylor
Continuing on from Part 2 of the guide last week, this week I promised an introduction to blogging. Blogging, which is essentially a concatenation and reduction of the term “web logging”, is at its most basic akin to writing a diary. What blogging does is to take the tradition of writing a diary and give it an Internet twist. Essentially you are now writing your diary on the Internet. Of course like any tool it can be adapted to the user, so some people use blogs for social/political commentary, as well as many other topics (as with most things on the Internet).

The advantage a blog gives to someone away from family and friends is the ability for said family and friends to keep up-to-date with what you are doing. Of course with the Internet being the Internet, you are able with most blogs to allow comment, as well as posting photos, or at least links to them. So this gives it an extra dimension or two over the average paper diary.

One of the most famous and easy-to-use blog sites is Livejournal, for those who are beginners and/or don’t want to deal with the complication of setting up their own site and blog pages. Livejournal.com offers a free but feature limited service, as well as a paid service that allows you to have some filespace for uploading photos (which can in turn be upgraded). Livejournal also has numerous communities, some relating to Brazil and learning Portuguese, although these aren’t very active.

Updating a blog is pretty much the same regardless of what service you use. You write your entry, either on the web or using an offline tool (such as Semagic for Livejournal). Then “save” the entry to the page where you can typically allow it to be open to the public, or restricted to users of the site, or even for your eyes only.

Popular blogging sites aside from Livejournal are Blogger, MySpace, MSN Spaces, and DeadJournal (the last two being based on the open source Livejournal code).

Then there are specialist sites for blogging via mobile phone e.g. TextAmerica. And more importantly sites for uploading photos and creating photo blogs such as Flickr, Photobox and even UOL (subscribers only). Photo sites can vary in quality as bandwidth is expensive, so free sites can be slow and problematic, and tend to come and go.

A step beyond blogging are community sites, which are also worth a mention. Both Livejournal and MySpace blend both blogging and the community aspect. Then there’s the infamous Orkut (infamous at least in Brazil) which has no blogging feature but allows you to find new friends and stay in contact with others. To join Orkut though you will need to find someone who’s currently a member to send you an invitation. Orkut is an article in itself, which I’ll try and cover in the future.

In next weeks article I will cover getting online in Brazil.

If you have any comment on blogging tools you have used that you would like to recommend, or questions on this article as well as suggestions for future articles then please contact the author.

Previous articles in this series:

Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2 (Internet Telephony)
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1 (Instant Messaging)

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