Blogging About Books About Blogging
I have never been a fan of the "dummies" books and honestly never understood how a publisher that unequivocally calls its audience Stoopid on the cover of every book could possibly become popular, yet the bright yellow tomes on a huge range of topics have become ubiquitous. And sometimes, though certainly not always, the books themselves are quite good.
Blogging For Dummies is a comprehensive reference that begins by defining the term blog and proceeds methodically to tell you most everything you need to know about them. Brad Hill takes a very humorous and self-deprecating tone which somewhat makes up for the very hand-holding, step-by-step ‘software manual’ style these books inevitably adopt.
I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the various options for starting a blog: from the social networks on MSN Spaces and Yahoo 360 and Google’s less sociable and slightly geekier Blogger (all free) to paid Type Pad accounts, to using Movable Type or Word Press pre-installed on a blogging specialist web host’s server to downloading and installing one of these programs on your own on a general web hosting server. I started this blog on a whim, without ever considering what options were available and am quite pleased to realize that had I reviewed all of these options before starting I very likely still would have chosen Blogger.
Other sections cover the mechanics of day to day blogging, the use of RSS and other syndication services, publicizing and promoting your blog, netiquette for bloggers and, finally monetizing your blog with ads. This volume would be most useful for someone who has already begun blogging and wants to get a better understanding of what it’s all about and helpful to prospective bloggers who prefer to learn before they leap. Recommended.
Publishing a Blog with Blogger is a highly visual, well-written and concise guide to doing exactly what the title says. Elizabeth Castro does not spare a word or a pixel for the history of blogging, the possibilities of using other hosts and software platforms or anything else except showing you precisely, step-by-step how to build and manage a Blogger blog. This book would be excellent for helping someone like my mother, who has never blogged before, to make their first effort. (My mom has started reading here lately and I hope she will see this suggestion– she has become a great photographer in recent years and I would love to be able to visit her blog and see her latest pictures every day!) Highly Recommended.
The Best of Blogs seems uncertain what it wants to be– a guide for new bloggers, a history of the medium or a directory listing of interesting and unusual blogs. And in its indecision, it fails in all three areas. The history and general explanations, occupying a small section at the beginning of the book are cursory and provide little useful information. The meat of the book, occupying the middle two thirds of the 320 pages consists of a listing of blogs in various categories, which do not seem particularly well chosen. The authors seem to be most interested in parenting and child oriented blogs as well as football and sports centered blogs. If these are not your particular interests this section will not be all that helpful. (I also believe that printed directories of online content are necessarily obsolete 60 seconds after they come off the press and a waste of paper under the best of circumstances, even when the listings are well-chosen, which these are not.) The final section of the book, about 50 pages addresses the particulars of creating your own blog. This section feels like an after-thought and would have very limited utility for a new blogger. NOT Recommended.
All three of these books and many other books about blogging can be found in your public library at Dewey Decimal Number 006.7.