They have become one of the defining features of the technological generation.
They divide opinion, create furious debate and open doors to corners of the internet you never knew existed.
So just what is a blog?
Wikipedia defines a blog as a website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.
Some people use blogs as a creative outlet, a form of free ‘self-publishing’ that can potentially attract attention from commissioners, editors or record labels – just ask The Arctic Monkeys.
‘Maggie’, who uses her blog at Mildew and Milk to post her poetry, says: “A blog should be where you put the things that you want people to see, but more importantly, other people should want to see these things. Otherwise, you know, write in a diary or something.”
There is also a growing trend for ‘live blogging’, a craze which has caught on particularly with sports fans who do not have access to the criminally expensive monopoly of satellite channels or simply like to follow their team ‘on the sly’ in the office.
One of the most important aspects of a blog, it would appear, is interaction between author and audience. Utter the phrase ‘user generated content’ within 20 metres of any self-respecting web journalist and they will turn into a quivering wreck of excitement at the idea of the previously muted masses engaging with their zany theories.
Comments are of course moderated to avoid defamation and downright spite filtering through, but I often find myself scrolling down to the discussion section of a piece without having thoroughly digested the words of the actual ‘professional’ journalist.
But before you rush off to sign up and start pouring you heart out, a warning from one of the world’s most eminent writers and web geeks, Stephen Fry.
“The danger of having one’s own space, whether it’s column inches or a blog,” says Fry, “is that it just turns one into a kind of prating imbecile, an overwhelmingly proud person, a person who thinks they have a right to share their furies with the rest of the world.”
He is, of course, speaking with tongue firmly in cheek, as he has fully embraced the concept of sharing one’s furies through all possible means of technology through his charmingly named podgrams and blessays.
So there you have it, a less than comprehensive overview of the world of blogging. There is so much more I could say, but most of it involves things I don’t understand like Twitter, del.ici.ous, RSS feeds and other things that probably sound like various types of bird food.