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by Rebecca Blood
Perseus Publishing, 2002
Review by Miranda Hale on Feb 13th 2003

The Weblog Handbook

I came to this book with the preconceived notion of how pointless it is to write a book about blogging.  I mean, blogging is quite easy; anyone with Internet access and basic internet skills can do it.  However, this excellent book surprised me many times over and showed me just how much there is to learn about blogs, including history, practical advice, and promotion.

Blood begins the book by discussing her own introduction into weblogs, what exactly a weblog is, and the rapid development of the weblog since it debuted in the mid- to late-1990s. She illustrates the sense of community that the original/early webloggers shared because of their low numbers and common interests.  Through detailed examples and anecdotes, Blood illustrates the personal and cultural importance of weblogs, how they disseminate information, provide points of view not often heard from in mainstream media, create communities of sorts, and offer glimpses into people's lives.      

By offering so many stories of her own experience in the world of weblogs, both positive and negative, Blood is able to convince people that they can and should create a weblog, that what they have to say and share, whatever it may be, will find an audience and develop their skills as a writer/critical thinker if they choose the right tools for weblog management, (various HTML programs/services are profiled in the book), provide some way for their audience to contact you/interact with them directly, have a user-friendly design, be themselves, respect other webloggers, and update regularly. Tips on online safety, protecting children online, and maintaining privacy as a weblogger are also covered.

She ends the book with an afterword that discusses the massive and quick proliferation of webloggers in the past few years, and what this growth has done for/to the internet and its users. While recognizing that today's world of weblogs is much different from the original small community that started them in the mid- to late-1990s, she offers encouragement for all of us to start setting our lives in context and sharing what we know/see/feel with the world.

There are many web resources listed both at the end of each chapter and in the various appendices.  The appendices also offer instructions on creating a practice weblog through various services, adding weblinks to your weblog, and monitoring your site's statistics. This is an extremely well-written, informative, fun, and important book.  How wrong my preconceived notions were!

 

The author's weblog can be found at: http://www.rebeccablood.net

The book's homepage is: http://www.rebeccablood.net/handbook/index.html

 

 

© 2003 Miranda Hale

 

Miranda Hale is a graduate student in English Literature who lives in Spokane, Washington and who reads entirely too much Sylvia Plath.