Web logs get personal

Lower maintenance than a full-blown website, usually free of charge and easily accessible to the public, web logs, also known as blogs, are becoming popular among professional and casual journal-keepers alike.

A blog is a public online journal with a set of links to other sites.

Generally, the blogger, as those who maintain them are known, will write a train of thoughts in his or her blog and provide a link to related material.

Blogs range from simple, personal journals, such as those provided by Xanga or LiveJournal, to serious sites for commentary, such as the Lessig Blog, run by Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University. Some, like Fark, are in between, providing links to both news and entertainment.

Kim Pearson, assistant professor of journalism, finds blogging to be a fascinating

. Joshua Marshall, a professional journalist with a personal political blog, was able to fund a trip to the New Hampshire primary with money donated by his readers.

Many college students use their own personal blogs as a way of getting thoughts out. “I’ve always wanted to keep a journal, but have never been good about it,” Regina Cummings, a freshman open options education major said.

“It’s a way of putting down what I’m feeling.”

Services like Xanga give subscribers a simple, free blog page and a link to put on their Instant Messenger profile, where their friends can view it. Users can then choose to either keep their page as it is or pay a small fee to upgrade for added features on their blog. While not as private as a traditional journal, many students enjoy blogs as a way of getting their less personal thoughts in order.

Whether personal or for the mass audience, web logs are becoming widespread. While not as dynamic or powerful as a traditional page, these small journals make a homepage much easier for the non-internet savvy.