What is a blog?
Well, the word comes from two words: web and log. So, it’s a blog. That helps a lot you’re probably saying. But, that’s the history.
Hmm. What is it though?
A blog is a web site, but it’s a web site that usually exists to foster communication between people. For Grin and Grumble, I write “posts” about marketing, dogs, boats, whatever comes into my hyperactive mind. Hopefully people read the posts and reply by writing a “comment.” You don’t have to register or anything to leave a comment. I ask that you put your e-mail address, but only I’ll see it and it won’t be sold or abused in any way. And, if you still don’t want to leave an e-mail address, that’s fine too.
So blogs are about communication. To make communication easier, blogs use something called “syndication” and “feeds.” You might hear it called “RSS” or “Atom.” They are different, but the function is the same. If you “subscribe” to the Grin and Grumble “feed,” you’ll be notified when a new post is made. No hunting or searching or checking. You’re notified. How? That depends.
The power of blogs is best experienced by using syndication. I’m just going to call it RSS moving forward. To help you understand, pretend you’re a voracious newspaper reader. Each day you have the Boston Globe, New York Times, and USA Today delivered to you. You subscribed to each paper and they’re delivered to you. You may have to open the door or walk to the mailbox to get them, but they come to you. RSS is like this. Rather than you having to go find posts (think newspapers), they come to you.
You subscribe to blogs by using an RSS “reader” or “aggregator.” A what? It’s a free service that keeps track of your subscriptions and posts. I recommend web-based readers, such as Bloglines. You sign up, enter the blog addresses to which you want to subscribe, and the reader collects the new posts. You visit the reader’s web site, log in, and you’ll see all the new posts (remember, newspapers) from the blogs you’d like to read. Cool, huh?
If you don’t use RSS, you can still read blogs. You just won’t know if a new post is up unless you visit the site. Using the newspaper analogy, it would be like scooting over to the offices of the Boston Globe, New York Times, and USA Today, and asking them if they had a new edition coming out. It’s easier just to have your coffee and let the newspapers (and posts) come to you.
Still not sold on RSS? You can also receive notice of new posts at Grin and Grumble by signing up to receive an e-mail notification. This is service provided by the company FeedBlitz. They promise not to sell your e-mail.
However you read Grin and Grumble, please enjoy. If I can help you understand the world of blogs, please e-mail me. My e-mail is grinandgrumble “at” gmail.com. I’m trying to avoid those darn spammers! Just replace “at” with @. Oh, you knew that!