Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Blog Basics and South Sound Arts Bloggers

Quite a few of the folks who stumble across these pages already know a bit about blogging. But for those who are not as familiar and especially those who would like to give blogging a go, here is some basic information and some sample links to Tacoma artists who blog.

The current state of the blog evolved from online diaries, where people would keep a personal journal in public view. The word blog comes from the contraction of “web log”. Though initially small in number, this online form of expression has now become mainstream to a point where schools of journalism have taken note, political campaigns are active in their usage and individuals are paid to write blog entries on a contractual basis. I will save a post on the role of blogging in traditional journalism for another time.

Here is an easy to digest definition from the site I am using as my blogging engine, www.blogger.com:

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules. In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.

Blogger is a free tool and it's owners extol, in a relaxed fashion, that you should publish your thoughts and engage your friends. If you want to get started it is a fine place to begin.

Elements of a blog sometimes go well beyond the entries themselves, but in general a blog will have Titles, or headlines for the postings, followed by the body of the posts, post dates for tracking when the entries were made, comments capability if the owner of the blog so chooses to include them and permalinks for the post so that they can be directly accessed. Many blogs have photos, graphics and video embedded in entries and have the capability of categorizing the posts into general areas of interest. There are many widgets, or elements which allow for specific tasks and features, which can be added to a basic blog.

In any public forum, there is the potential for misbehavior, and in answer to this Tim O’Reilly published a proposal for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct to support the idea that bloggers should enforce civility on their sites.

I wanted to include information on artists and art venues who blog to support their work. Sadly, many times I found sites where the author has a fallen into a blogcoma, (a lack of postings that stretch back months and sometimes years). Many of the South Sound blogs discuss the arts within their topics, but the following are examples where art takes the center stage.

The docents at the Museum of Glass:
This blog is a companion to our Bits of Frit Newsletter, and it’s a great way for docents to discuss interesting topics and keep in touch with what’s going on at the Museum.

The Weekly Volcano’s SPEW
Attitude with substance. That's the Weekly Volcano. We offer up a hip take on culture and music flavored by a lifelong love of the South Sound we cover. With a combination of spunky columnists, vivid profiles and sassy commentary on the culture scene that keeps the South Sound percolating, the Weekly Volcano lives as a kind of collective urban diary.

The Feed Tacoma’s Feed Tacomic by RR Anderson
This website combines the thoughtful commentary and insight of a handful of Tacomans who want to spread the good word about this great town.

South Sound Arts by Alec Clayton
Art and theater reviews covering Seattle to Olympia, Washington, with other art, literature and personal commentary.

The Tacoma News Tribunes Bring the Noise
Bring the Noise is where you'll find breaking music news, photo galleries and set lists from some of the month's hottest shows and audio clips from interviews with hot rockers, rappers and pop stars

Feel free to post others.

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