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Weblogs (Blogs)

In 1998 only a handful of these sites were in existence on the Web. Today there are thousands. 4

Blogs are a form of online journal. Editors, or bloggers as they are called, of the pages usually update them quite frequently. They are full of the author's personality and are often creative, sarcastic and funny.

Originally, blogs were commentaries on other Web sites and current news stories. They would provide lists of links with the bloggers' opinions and descriptions of the sites. This type of blog often revolves around a single topic such as news, entertainment or dozens of other categories. Eatonweb keeps a large database of blogs, filed by topic.

Today, blogs include this original type as well as the "short-form journal" type. This second type often includes the bloggers' thoughts and feelings throughout the day. Links often relate more personally to the blogger, such as a friend's home page, or a favorite band's fan page.

Readers of blogs do so because of curiosity. Look at how many "reality-based" television show are out there now. People are dying to know what's going on in other people's lives, and once they get hooked, they keep coming back for more. Readers often develop relationships with bloggers through email contact. 5

Readers also benefit from the link commentary. Rather than browsing through the millions of sites, blogs give readers a critique of the new, interesting and often strange things on the Net and in the news.

In 1999, the first free build-your-own blogger site appeared, Pitas. It was to be followed by several more. 6
Want to make your own? Here are several build-your-own sites:

Blogger
Pitas
Groksoup
How to Build a Blog on about.com is also worth checking out.
Browser skins

Customization is a growing trend on the Internet. You can customize portals, news pages and home pages.

Browser skins make it possible to customize the way your Web browser looks.
Hotbar.com offers 50,000 browser skins to change the way a user's browser screen looks. They also gives users a tool bar which gives instant access to news, commerce and even horoscopes. 7

There are hundreds of sites on the Net which offer free skins to users.

browser skin

Emoticons

Emoticons are pictures of facial expressions made out of punctuation marks. For example: :-)

The first smiley is attributed to Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Scott Fahlman in 1980. 8

Today they are used so widely that America Online has buttons you can click while writing emails so that you don't have to type the emoticons in.

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This site, including all graphics, was created by Jennifer Falor. Any questions or comments should be mailed to jenfalor@yahoo.com. © Jennifer Falor 2001.