Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Delaware Coast Press - Blogging Article

I couldn't find the recent article about blogging on the Delaware Coast Press - delmarvanow.com website, and so I am hosting a copy of it here, as Paige was kind enough to send me a copy.


WHAT: On line journals or blogs are the newest way for people to share their ideas with the public. WEB SITES: Pat Fish's blog at http://patfish.blogspot.com, Fred Schranck's blog at http://www.sneakingsuspicions.com, and Larry Sullivan's blog at http://www.delawoffice.com/news.html.

By Paige Lauren Deiner
Coast Press Reporter

Blogging, short for Web logging, or creating online journals, is a way for ordinary people to become columnists and write about the subjects that matter most to them, whether it be politics or gardening, and share them with the world via the Internet.

Blogging is a relatively new trend that is rapidly growing. A Google search on the Internet generates more than three million hits. Bloggers post information on the Internet and update their blog on a regular basis.

Pat Fish, who has a blog and lives in Milton said, "Blogs are out there so that the little people get a voice." She said blogging gives people the opportunity to share their opinions with a large audience without being employed by a newspaper. "A lot of famous people (columnists) are also starting blogs. Television personalities are writing blogs, but as many people read my blogs as read theirs. Their blogs are no more interesting, that makes the field equal," said Fish. Fish said she started blogging when her granddaughter was born in December of 2003. She said she had always kept an e-mail list of friends and family to send her thoughts to and when blogging became popular, it was a natural transition.

Fish said she uses her Web log as a medium to share the book she is writing for her granddaughter, Kaitlyn Mae. The blog is the making of a book, but also a public forum for her to express her viewpoints on everything from funny incidents, to gardens and birds, to politics and current events.
She posts her stories twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and generally writes them a week earlier so she "can edit them and let them cool off." An excerpt from a posting on June 13 on Fish's blog, entitled "The Drama That Is Iraq" reads:

"It's likely when you are an adult, Kaitlyn Mae, that the Iraq War will be but a footnote in the history text, if that. Right now it looms large on our national horizon. Grandmother thinks this conflict, and the Afghanistan conflict still under way as of this writing, is a study of dreams, ideals, intrigue, politics, violence and a clash of civilizations as great as any of the ancient past." Fish said, "People who do blogs are writers, if not they don't get read. There are lots of silly blogs, but no one wants to read crappy writing."

Fish said she plans to start her own Web site at the end of July, so she can upload pictures, and have more space, but currently her blog is hosted by blogspot, a free blog hosting site. She estimates that more than a hundred people read her blog each week. But she said, "I don't care if nobody reads them (my blogs). It makes me happy."

Shrank blogs to start dialogues.

Fred Schrank, a deputy attorney general who lives in Rehoboth Beach, is also a blogger. He said he began learning about blogging after Sept. 11 while he was searching out more information about what happened. He became hooked on the lyleks.com blog and then began his own blog in 2002. He said he usually posts content to his site five or six times a week, and he has gathered a following. Schrank said a satiric piece he wrote about marshmallow farming attracted thousands of reads. On the average, though, he said 250-350 people read his blog every day. He said that he doesn't make any money from his blog, but encourages people who enjoy reading his posts to donate to either the ALS foundation or the Epilepsy Foundation. There are links to each organization on his site.

Shrank said his posts, which range from serious to silly, have been conversation starters between him and other bloggers. He said sometimes other bloggers will comment on what he wrote on their blogs, or readers will e-mail him with questions.

Because of his blog, Shrank said he has met many interesting people, some of whom have become friends. "The nice thing about blogging, is that you meet people who really know their field and who are interested enough in it to write about it."

Sullivan blogs to inform clients

Larry Sullivan is a lawyer in Newark who started his blog on his work web-site three years ago as a way to disseminate information to his clients and provide free general legal information to the public. He said that he spends about 40 minutes a week on his blog and that other staff members spend about the same amount of time posting information to the site. Sullivan said there has been a large response, favorable comments and an increase in Web traffic to the site.

"As best we can determine, the site has about 2,000 hits per day, 600 visits per day to the site," said Sullivan. He said that his blog has increased business and provided a cost effective way for him to share information with his clients about changes to Delaware law. "It's clearly an effective method of meeting new clients," said Sullivan.

According to Sullivan, his blog is one of the few blogs in existence that just deals with legal issues in Delaware. "This is especially important in Delaware where the attorneys are traditionally conservative and slow to venture into the Internet, but they are doing so," said Sullivan. He said an added benefit to the blog is that by providing generalized legal information to the public, people know what types of questions to ask when they come in to see him.

E-mail Paige Lauren Deiner at pdeiner@gannett.com.

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