Blogging Has Arrived Online Diaries Gain Popularity and Importance



    PITTSBURGH, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Democratic candidate for President
 Howard Dean's race for the nomination has ended.  But he may still have
 secured a place in history as the first presidential candidate to rely heavily
 on blogs.
     A blog, or online diary, according to Laurie Brown, a faculty member of
 the Multi-Media and Web Design Department of The Art Institute of California
 -- San Francisco, can be defined as "an online diary that relates personal
 facts and stories, political opinions, or anything else that the writer wants
 to convey."
     Dean's use of blogs allowed him to communicate with voters, speak on
 issues, and solicit donations.  Many believe Dean's decision to use blogs
 helped him reach young and disenfranchised voters and secure an early lead in
 the race.
     While the term blogs is relatively new, Wendi Dunlap-Simpson of The Art
 Institute of Seattle explains, "blogging was a natural development from the
 basic 'home page.'"   Since the web began in the first half of the 1990s, many
 individuals began their own personal web pages, often including links they
 found of interest.  Says Dunlop-Simpson, "Some people updated their web logs
 frequently with commentary, while others did so less frequently and without
 much commentary. Eventually people started calling the ones that were updated
 often with new commentary 'weblogs,' and later 'blogs.'"
     For Sean Fitzroy, an Instructor in the Department of Multimedia and Web
 Design at The New England Institute of Art, blogs offer a new approach to
 classroom learning.  Says Fitzroy, "All of the students in my Internet
 Technologies class are required to keep a blog. They no longer turn in writing
 assignments on paper. Instead they publish their ideas on the World Wide Web
 and have the option to review, respond to, and link to other students' blogs.
 Fitzroy says blogs can run the gamut, for example, "blogs can be simple
 project tracking systems to cathartic 'tell-all' personal diaries, or fall
 somewhere in between private and public communication."
     Has blogging changed the face of online communication? Perhaps.   Robert
 A. Emmons Jr., Assistant Academic Director of Multimedia & Web Design at The
 Art Institute of Philadelphia says, "After reading many blog entries, I found
 some that were astoundingly personal. I imagine that in the back of their
 mind, they might be thinking, 'Well, no one is going to read it anyway,' but
 many times someone does, someone that can relate to what's being written.
 This idea empowers us. To connect," he says.
     Not all blogs however are serious in nature.  In fact, some of the most
 popular blogs can be funny and compelling reflections of their writer's
 personal hobbies or obsessions, for example, a blog by and about a fanatical
 knitter ( http://www.wendyknits.net /).  Blogs can also morph into books.
 Julie Powell, a secretary from Staten Island, cooked her way through all 524
 recipes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and is turning
 her online diary ( http://blogs.salon.com/0001399 ) into a book.
     Like Dean's blogs, online diaries can be similar to a daily newscast, but
 take a smaller, more intimate approach.   For example, during the initial
 battles in the war in Iraq, an Iraqi student kept a blog about his emotions
 and experiences during the first days of "shock and awe."  According to
 Anthony Moy, instructor in the Multi Media & Web Design department of the
 Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago "the blog allowed many people around the
 world to experience the other side of the international conflict from a less
 adulterated and personal level."
     So what do you need to get started blogging?  A computer and an internet
 connection, for starters.  There are several websites devoted to the art of
 blogging.  One of the biggest, according to Robert Emmons, is Blogger.com.
 Other sites include Weblogs.com, Bloggerforum.com, and Diaryland.com.
     Internet watchers say it's too soon to predict the future of blogs.  Says
 Wendi Dunlop-Simpson, "so much information, and yes, so much blather. But it's
 wonderful that worldwide publishing is now available to anybody with a web
 site. There are a lot of great writers and great stories out there, and now we
 get to see what we would have missed if the Web didn't exist."
 
     The Art Institutes ( www.artinstitutes.edu/nr ), with 30 education
 institutions located throughout North America, provide an important source of
 design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes
 have provided career-oriented education programs for 40 years, with more than
 140,000 graduates.
 
 

SOURCE The Art Institutes

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