Some of those who have read my blog may be unfamiliar with the concept of a blog. This might be the first blog they have encountered (for some it is). So for their benefit, I want to briefly describe blogs and blogging, and discuss my blog in particular.
What is a blog?
Wikipedia (a free online encyclopedia) defines “blog” this way:
“A blog is a website in which journal entries are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.”
[Read the whole article]
What are common features of blogs? Or, what makes blogging so popular?
Blogs are easier to maintain than websites, and there are several websites which provide space (as well as technical help) for personal blogs for free (such as blogger or wordpress). So many people who could not feasibly host their own website, are enabled to have their own blog.
Blogs also typically major on short posts which are easy to read. They commonly reference other articles or blog posts on the web by quoting a portion of the article and providing a link to the full original article. So a blog can be like a central clearing house for information (and discussion) related to a specific theme, as most blogs are dedicated to one or two specific topics.
Another element which makes blogs so popular, is their ability to host discussions. Some blogs prefer not to allow comments, but most do. They are different from typical internet discussion boards or forums in that the discussion is initiated and directed by the blog owner. Comments can be moderated or deleted (by the blog owner) if offbase, offensive, or unwanted.
Another benefit to blogs, is the ability to provide links to other websites and blogs the blogowner desires to promote. The blog, then, becomes one’s personal web presence.
What are some benefits of blogging? Or why blog?
There are many popular Christian blogs which provide the useful service of framing and encouraging discussions of Biblical, theological, cultural, and political topics (and more) pertinent to believers. Many blogs have thereby directly aided the advancement of a Christian worldview. Some blogs encourage unbelievers to interact, serving an apologetic or evangelistic purpose. Since many Christian blogs provide links to a wide array of different online resources, blogs become a one-stop shop for researching different topics, or for looking for news presented from a Christian worldview.
This is not to say Christian blogs do not provide pitfalls. Blogs can serve pride, and host discussions with no edifying purose. People presenting differing points of view can tend to be ridiculed or treated in an unChristian way. Further, discernment is required when entering the world of blogs (or blogosphere as it is sometimes called): since anyone can have a blog, but might not have anything worthwile or credible to say. [I would contend that such discernment is needed when picking up a book at any Christian bookstore, too. But the problem is especially prevalent in web-based arenas, as Carl Trueman of Reformation 21 Magazine points out.]
What about Bob’s blog?
My blog serves as an example of a typical blog format. As I mention the characteristics of my blog, keep in mind that most blogs operate similarly.
At the top of my blog is its title and subtitle in a header section. Clicking on it will take you back to my main page. My posts are viewed in the center of the screen, while most of my links are in the sidebar. As you navigate through the blog, you should always see the same format with the header and sidebar.
The posts appear in reverse chronological order (the newer posts at the top). At the bottom of each post is a link to a pop-up window where you can add coments. Clicking on the word “Permalink” at the bottom of my posts, takes you to the specific webpage for each post. On that page only the individual post will be displayed along with all the comments that have been added (so far). There is also a link at the bottom of each posts which will list all the links to that specific post from other blogs (these are not always completely accurate, as the list depends upon search engines and the like to find the links). One further word about posts. I commonly include links within the posts (if you hover over a word, usually in red, and it suddenly becomes underlined, know that that is a link). Clicking on the link will take you to the resource or original article (or whatever) that I am referencing.
My blog, like most, provides a wealth of information about the blog in the sidebar. Under the “about me” section of my sidebar, you will find a link to “My Profile & Mini-Bio” [note: now that I have changed to WordPress, you can see this info on my about page], which lists some facts about me in addition to a brief introduction and biography. You will also find “My story” (a link to a lengthy letter detailing my departure from fundamentalism and discussing some Biblical bases for my new positions). Also, clicking on “About this Blog”, will take you to a post which provides my plan and vision for my blog. “In case you were wondering” , takes you to a post explaining why most of my posts are written during the late night or early morning hours. There is also a link to “My commenting policy”, mentioned again below. I also provide a link to my Family Photo blog, as well.
The “last posts” section provides links to my most recent posts. The “categories” section provides links to running lists of each post under a specific category. Do not forget to check out the “archives” section. My blog (like most) is not set up to list every post on the main page. Rather a certain number of posts or a certain date range of posts are shown. When posts drop off the main page they go to the archive page, basically. Clicking on “December 2005″, for instance, will make my blog show you all the posts made in December of 2005. So for many of my posts, you will only be able to find them by either browsing through the archives, or by searching by category. You may also find (as I do) that my “links” section is quite useful. If you prefer to have the link open up in a new window, you can usually do that by clicking the right button on the mouse (while hovering over the link) and selecting “open in a new window”. My “Bobspotted Blogs” section provides links to other blogs you may find interesting (perhaps more so than my blog). [Hint: often if you run your cursor over a link and hover on it for a second or so, you may see a little box telling you about the site the link will take you to.]
At the bottom of my side bar you will see a link enabling you to email me. You will also see a link offering to syndicate the site. What this means is you will be enabled to subscribe to my blog, being notified of each new post (or comment). This is done through a blog “reader” program. Many of which are available for free online. You can search Blogger help for more information about this (or Wikipedia for that matter), as I am not an expert regarding these functions.
What does Bob want from those who read his blog?
Well I hope you are blessed by it, first and formeost. But, secondly, I would encourage you to add comments to posts you find encouraging. You are welcome to add comments about posts you may disagree with or have questions about, too. Also, please add comments pointing our attention to other resources, blogs, or articles that deal with the same topic addressed in the post. Blogs are made more useful and more fun by many people commenting.
Let me add a word about anonymity. In the interests of discussion, I have chosen to allow anyone to comment anonymously. For some, this may make it easier to comment. Others may, for one reason or another, want to shield their identity when commenting. I am fine with that. I would rather hear concerns and questions and be able to address them, than have people not raise them due to a requirement to provide their identity. However, I do not want to encourage people using fake identites. If you give a name, please let it be your real name. This allows the discussions to take place in a reasonable and fair fashion.
If you do want to comment, please be aware of my commenting policy (click on the link to read it). I do maintain the right to edit comments or delete them, if I see the need. [If I edit comments I will make it clear why I have done so.]
Sorry this post became so long, but I hope it will benefit some people and enable them to get more out of this blog (and others).
âˆ¼striving for the unity of the faith for the glory of Godâˆ¼ Eph. 4:3,13 \”¢ Rom. 15:5-7