Like this page?
Send it to a friend!
Kent blogs on
Technophiles up and down the county are expressing their most intimate thoughts, ranting about their world and publishing their news, all through the medium of blogs. Find out more...
Kent's blogs are being published by very different people and for very different reasons: for some a blog is the perfect medium through which to communicate with friends and family and to keep them up to date with daily events; for others it's a soap box for campaigning and rabble-rousing; it's also a tool for sharing news and specialist information and for inviting comment and discussion.
But what is a blog?
A blog, shorthand for 'web log', is a regularly updated online journal. Some keen bloggers post new entries several times a day but most are updated daily.
It is also possible set up RSS feeds to your blog so that readers can subscribe to your very latest posting.
Blogs have become an established part of the online world - with a new blog said to be created ever half a second. Technorati, the leading blog search engine, is currently [September 2006] tracking 52.6 million blogs worldwide.
For blogs, as with other websites, a form of natural selection is underway and the cream tends to rise to the top. The more a blog is viewed and recommended, and the more it is linked to from other blogs and websites, the more prominently it will feature in Internet searches.
Why would you?
Blogs are giving a voice to millions of people who would otherwise have had no means of publishing their writings and ramblings. While it's fair to say that many bogs are made up of the kind of naval-gazing that would only be of interest to the author and his/her immediate circle, others provide unique observation, entertaining commentary and specialist knowledge that is hard to find elsewhere else.
The advantage of course of blogs is that they are free to launch and maintain [for basic blogs], are unrestricted by editorial controls and are open to interaction and comment from anyone, anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, you don't need to know anything about computers or web design. Sites like Google-owned 'Blogger' or Typepad will allow you to start blogging in a matter of minutes. And as for what you then choose to do with your blog, well, that's up to you...
Casting an eye over Kent's blogs, it's clear that many fall into the Bridget Jones category - full of personal anecdote and day-to-day observation - but increasingly
Mike Jarvis runs his blog 'jarvboy' as a way of keeping friends up to date and also to express himself:
"I always use it, probably more so than I should, to analysis certain aspects of my life or situations, when I missed the opportunity to do so at the time. Also, I can get anything that's been bugging me off my chest."
Often, diary-type bloggers like Mike forget than any Internet-enabled computer-user on the planet can dip into their most personal musings. Ann from Orpington started her blog 'Five Home Ed In Kent' in November 2005 to chart the highs and lows or home educating her three boys:
Blog: Five Home Ed In Kent
"It's like a diary where you pour out your innermost thoughts. It's not always about home education - but it is always about life. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that people around the world are reading - but also people that know you as well."
Ann knows that by sharing her experiences, she can not only help others in a similar position, but also help herself:
"It's a regular form of self-expression that I find interesting and therapeutic in a lot of ways. Some people use them [blogs] as evidence to show to the local education authority how they have been educating their child… I'm quite conscious that I've got a responsibility to present home education warts and all."
Unedited and unmoderated, blogs aren't always friendly. Free from editorial control, many bloggers choose to fight on behalf of a disenfranchised community or campaign close to their hearts. Whether it's traffic cones, politicians or simply promoting local theatre productions, bloggers are out there fighting for their cause.
In this sense, blogging gives a voice to people who would otherwise have found it impossible or too expensive to publish their opinions. Today, readers hungry for a more human, unmediated version of events, are turning to blogs.
Blog: Iain Dale
This is particularly true at times of conflict when information fed to media outlets is under strict control. During the Iraq war of 2003, Salam Pax's blog detailed the fears and hardships of Iraqi citizens as they prepared for the inevitable invasion. Likewise the conflict between Israel and Lebanon has spawned a host of weblogs, many of them in English. They offer a variety of diary-style reportage, eye-witness accounts and photographs, and intense scrutiny and analysis of the coverage of events by traditional media.
This sea of 'citizen journalists' are often beating news agencies to stories, posting accounts of on-going events, photos and video before the machinery of formal news gathering has even ground into action. Political commentator Iain Dale from Tunbridge Wells recently made the front page of the Daily Mail with a story that he broke on his blog.
Mark from Tonbridge runs 'Tonbridge Blog' and, as a former print journalist, appreciates how liberating it is to publish in such a direct way:
"Where else can you publish a one man news comment "paper" reaching the whole world for five quid a month! The blogosphere is a bit like a radio phone in programme online, which covers almost any topic, but with no censors. My site has a local focus on the Tonbridge area so there is also an element of doing my bit for the town."
Thanet: blog central
In Thanet a cluster of blogs has emerged to highlight the failings of the local council and its councilors to breathe new life into the area.
Blog: Isle Of Thanet Gazunder
Blogger 'Eastcliffrichard' posts on his own self-named blog as well as on the 'Isle of Thanet Gazunder', a tongue-in-cheek 'Day Today'-type swipe at Thanet goings-on.
Tony Flaig is another to target Thanet in his 'Big News Margate' blog. "I am particularly aware that the average working person has little representation within the media so hopefully the likes of me can redress the balance."
"I have witnessed the decline of Margate and feel compelled to offer a critique of Thanet life." And that he certainly does - sometimes with humour, at other times with venom.
Dr Simon Moores also concentrates on Thanet in his blog 'Thanet Life'. This is a more serious news site, hoping to engage readers with local politics by inviting all parties to contribute to the blog and discuss the news of the day.
Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells
While some see it as their duty to bring local government to account, others blog as a way of celebrating their surroundings. Tunbridge Wells is the focus of two very different blogs - disgusted.tw and anke.blogs.com - both focusing on life in Tunbridge Wells, but from very different angles.
'Distusted' is on a one-man mission to name unrepaired, broken or neglected public spaces and to shame the local council into action. In celebration of the town's 400th anniversary 'Disgusted' of Tunbridge Wells hopes to find 400 broken lights, dirty signs and suchlike to list on his blog. At the time of writing, [September 2006] he and visitors to his blog have found 300 - and they've even been plotted on Google Map.
Anke's blog is perhaps the antithesis to 'Disgusted' - it's a flowing and genuine tribute to the same town - it's history, beauty and all-round loveliness: 'a day away from Tunbridge Wells is a day wasted', reads the subheading.
Chris, who runs the Anke blog, says: "I wanted to be the anti-'Disgusted', so I thought that I'd look at things people enjoy - the culture, the history - and try to get people to love the place again".
Share and share alike
Then there's the notice board-style blogs, providing specialist information, news, gossip or industry updates at the click of a mouse.
Blogs can be invaluable as content and news aggregators - scouring a multitude of sources on a specific subject [anything from showbiz gossip, computer games and gardening tips to health advice and agony-aunt type advice] before posting it to a blog where it can be disseminated instantly.
Dan runs the blog for the Kent Wildlife Trust, which provides colleagues with up-to-date news:
"Things like species seen, work carried out on reserves etc. It was hoped that this would provide and quick and informal way of presenting this information."
For Mark at the Downs C of E Primary School, blogging is seen as the best way of keeping staff, parents and children in the loop:
"By giving others in the school the relevant password details, it also means the senior management team, and the school secretary, can add information that they feel is relevant, taking the pressure off the person who creates the school website. The RSS syndication also allow readers easy ways of accessing our information as soon as it is updated, rather than them having to check the websites."
Other Kent bloggers
Blogs are indeed creeping their way into Kent life so isn't it about time you blogged on to find out?
last updated: 20/05/2008 at 12:12