Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blog Basics: Josh's Blog 101

I thought I'd give all of my readers a quick overview of my blog, to ensure no one is missing some of the cool features and interactivity of my blog. I'll start with the basics for you:

1) What is a Blog? - A Blog (short for weblog) is a website, or a portion of a website where a person (a.k.a. a "Blogger") will write a "Post" about a topic that interests them. In my case, I'll be posting about photography related topics, like photographic gear (See my posts Waterproof Bags for Outdoor & Kayaking Photography and Mac vs PC), my own photography (see Prairie Light and Canadian Rockies Photos) and the photography industry.

2) How does a Blog work? - A blog is interactive. The blogger writes a post, and the reader reads the post, and then may comment on the post, pose a question to the blogger, etc. The more you put in, the more you get out. Join in. Learn. Explore. See the link(s) at the bottom of each post where it says "Comments". Click and add yours.

3) What makes blogs so special? - One of the best things about a blog is the ability to be notified when a blogger writes and publishes a new post. This is accomplished by the use of "Feeds" (a.k.a. "RSS Feeds" "RSS" etc). Blogs, and other news sites often publish feeds that viewers can "Subscribe" to. Once a viewer has subscribed, they will be notified when a new post is published. There are two ways for you to be notified, depending on your preference, and the options available from the site or blog you would like to subscribe to.

Option 1: Subscribe to the feed in your "RSS Reader" of choice. RSS Readers are programs, or websites that monitor feeds you've subscribed to, and alert you when a new post has been published. Here are links to some popular web-based RSS Readers:

Google Reader
Yahoo Reader

There are lots more than this, but these will get you started.

Option 2: Subscribe with software on your computer, usually RSS capable web browsers, like Apple's Safari which is also available for you poor Windows users (see an interesting article on using Safari for RSS feeds Here), or Mozilla's Firefox. Microsoft's Internet Explorer also has RSS available in the new version 7, but do yourself a favour and ditch IE for something a little more "21st Century", like the browsers listed above.

If this has you all confused, not to worry. This YouTube video by Lee LeFever will straighten you out in no time:

Now that you're RSS savvy, why not Subscibe to the Josh McCulloch Blog Feed? And for those of you that still think this Web 2.0 stuff is all hogwash, just pop your e-mail address into the form on the top right of this screen and click "Subscribe". New posts will be delivered straight into your e-mail inbox, and you can opt-out whenever you want to, Spam Free!

4) Other Cool Stuff on my Blog - Make sure to check out my Portfolio, and Published Work, available from the links on the right side of this page, and the rest of my site with the links available from the top off all the pages on my site.

Lastly, if you come across a post on my blog you think someone you know would enjoy, click the "Email this" link at the bottom of the post and pass it along!

Happy Blogging!

Cheers, Josh


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