Blogs, an abbreviation for “web logs”, are web sites maintaining an information chronicle on regular basis. Blogs, diary-type entries sprinkled with links to relevant articles published online, are generally presented in reverse chronological order. Subject matter of a blog could be anything ranging from how to exercise to black holes. When concept of blogs was introduced, informal writing style was a norm so blogging was easier. However, it is changing. Today many blogs publish contents in formal writing style. Almost all blogs allow readers to comment on each post and subscribe to its feed. Blogs can be text-based and video-based (video blogs/Vlogs) that feature videos, images and text. Free popular blogging platforms include Blogger and WordPress.
In the past, very few people loved to write a personal diary regularly. However, today, millions of personal diaries are freely available online. Thanks to invention of complimentary blog technologies and growing computer literacy! Free access to internet in some countries like the United States of Americamade blogging easier for anyone who has an interest, basic writing skills especially in English language and time to arrange one’s thoughts lucidly. Unlike traditional diaries, virtual diary owners can even earn from their hobby using free online marketing and advertising programs.
Blogs have stirred investigative minds of scientists and they are trying to develop effective methods to collate useful information from these diaries. For instance, Dr. Gordon is trying to teach computers to mine blogs and gather useful information about personal lives of the bloggers to identify behavioral changes and new trends. To distinguish between non-story and story blogs, he defined a few parameters. For story blogs, he counts pronouns and past tense verbs used in blogs to identify phrases like “I did x so then y happened”. But, can machines read and understand?