Blogging is something that is very much in flux, as the new technologies that appear every day redefine what a blog is, what a blog can be, and what a blog should do. For many years, blogs were defined as text-based websites that kept records of days, similar to a captain’s log on a sailing ship. However, this started to change as the group of people who kept blogs became more diverse. The more bloggers began to explore the limits of the medium and of the technology that made it possible, the more the boundaries of what could be called a “blog” expanded.
Every day, blogs are created by people of all ages and from all walks of life, but when it comes to blogging, teen writers are truly on the cutting edge of the movement. Because today’s teenagers are the first generation of people to have grown up using the internet at every stage of their development, many adolescents have a seemingly innate sense of how to use web technology to express their innermost thoughts and ideas. Older writers often experience a kind of learning curve when they begin to blog, but many young people find that using a word processor and blogging software feels more natural and direct a mode of communication than writing in a diary ever could.
One of the reasons why blogs have undergone a kind of explosion in the teen community and are growing by leaps and bounds is the fact that they provide a unique mixture of visibility and anonymity. A teenager can invite friends and peers to read his or her blog with a simple email, thereby winning attention or possibly even praise. Of course, with visibility usually comes the possibility of embarrassment, but the fact that it is possible to blog anonymously with an invented handle or nickname negates a lot of the potential for humiliation. Many a blogging teen lives in fear that a parent or guardian will discover his or her blog, but by publishing under an alias a teenager can spill his or her secrets without fear of being traced.
Outside the world of blogging, teen writers often have very limited opportunities to be published. Magazines and journals are often reticent to publish young writers who may not have as much credibility as older writers with a lot of experience and extensive credits to their names. This can discourage adolescents from writing or from seeking chances to publish their work. By blogging, young people can begin to gain a following of readers without first having to win the attention and support of an editor or publisher who may not be very interested in teenaged authors.
Between the fact that blogs provide young people with a chance to exercise their impressive technical aptitude, to gain visibility without compromising privacy, and to build a readership for their writing without having to jump through the traditional hoops of the publishing industry, it is little wonder that are so many teenagers with blogs. For some teenagers, blogging is even a very social endeavor that allows them to meet people with similar interests from all over the world. Many a blogging teen has discovered that having a weblog on the internet is a great way to explore self-expression and, often, to win positive feedback from new friends.
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