What’s a blog? It’s a method of communicating online. The name is a contraction of the term “web log,” and blogging has been around for over a decade. Long before the Internet, people had pen pals. Then came e-mail, online journals, bulletin boards, and other pre-blog tools. When blogs first began, they were mainly personal diaries that allowed readers to comment on their content. While some people still journal this way, blogs have moved far beyond the personal diary. There are now corporate blogs, public relations blogs, topic-specific blogs, organizational blogs, group blogs, and many other kinds.
You can blog, too, and you’re limited only by your creativity. You can use your blog for frontline advocacy - to tell readers about your library and its central role in community life. It’s easy: pick a catchy title for your blog, and start writing. Write about the broad range of questions you get asked at the reference desk every day, the mother who checked out so many picture books she needed help getting them to her car, the job seeker who stopped by to say that he’d found employment and thanked you for all the help the library provided. Make it interesting, but remember that everything you write is available for anyone to read.
Your content is called a “post,” and it can consist of written text as well as images and links to other websites. The easiest way to turn the fabulous piece you’ve written into a blog is to post it on your public library’s website (if possible) or to visit a blog host’s website and set up your own blog. You can post your blog using your e-mail account. Some free blog hosts that can guide you step-by-step and are easy to use include:
Free social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace also allow you to blog. Twitter is a social networking and “micro-blogging” service that limits your messages (called “tweets”) to 140 characters.