The Rise and Rise of the Blog
Blogs, or at least the basic premise of user-generated journals, have been around since the Internet's early days, but they have steadily been picking up force to become a dynamic part of the World Wide Web.
The growth and influence of user-generated content on the Internet, like blogs, videos, and social networks, is creating a shift in the balance of power from institutions to individuals, according to Time magazine, which selected the Person of the Year for 2006, "You," on this assertion.
"It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes," Time's Lev Grossman wrote in the U.S. magazine.
That is what the millions of blogs on the net today are doing. According to blog search engine Technorati, which currently tracks 71.1 million blogs, there are over 175,000 new blogs born every day, with bloggers creating 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates per second.
It is hard to imagine that in the not-so-distant past, the beginning of 1999, it was possible to read all 23 "web logs" that were known to be in existence.
Shortly after Peter Merholz coined the term "blog" by breaking down the word "web log" into the phrase "we blog" in the sidebar of his Peterme.com blog, the steady growth of blogs turned into an outright explosion when the first free build-your-own blog tools were launched.
"The Web enables people to connect with others who share their interests - whether that interest is shared by only three other people, or by 3000. Easy- to-use software has made posting to the Web as easy as sending an e-mail. As a result, millions of people have chosen to take their personal passions to the Web…" Rebecca Blood, author of "The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog," told Lavasoft News.
Today it seems that everyone – from corporations to mainstream news organizations to experts of all shapes and sizes – use blogs for hobbies or professional tools. However, they still follow the basic characteristics of the original Internet aficionado blogger, sifting through the vast flows of information on the web in order to highlight something newsworthy or bring to light an alternative perspective from the mainstream media.
Blogs can provide users with access to "pre-surfed" information, as blog editors pick out the tidbits of information that they find most interesting, and highlight those tidbits for their readers, Blood notes in her article "Weblogs: A History and Perspective."
"It certainly can be useful to have a daily digest of all the relevant news in an area, and blogs are perfect for that," Blood said.
This can be especially valuable when blogs focus on a specific issue, like security. Whether it's a mainstream IT news organization's blog or your favorite security pro's postings that you regularly browse, blogs are an effortless way to stay current on the news in the quickly changing fields of IT and cyber-security.
But there is no exception to surfing with caution when it comes to blogs.
In late February, a new variant of the Storm worm targeted blogs and forums, propagating itself through links in posts that directed users to a malicious website in order to compromise computers. Another recent attack involved hackers injecting exploit code into downloadable software for Wordpress, a popular blogging service.
As online attackers up their social engineering tricks with schemes targeting blogs and bloggers, security precautions are key.