I believe this is the first time in my life I've had something in common with RuPaul. The cross-dressing superstar and I have both started blogging, which is almost as much fun as it sounds. A blog, short for weblog, is a kind of spontaneous online public journal. Users typically add to a scrolling list of entries a couple of times a day with whatever ramblings come to mind--what they had for dinner, how their grandparents are getting along, their 10 favorite songs of the year--all sprinkled with links to cool Web pages they have discovered. Blogs are so easy to put together that new ones pop up every day.
Sacks of fan mail and nationwide tours certainly give you a lot to talk about, but you don't have to be RuPaul to succeed in the world of blogs. The best blogs are often those that deal honestly with the trivia of ordinary lives. Think Bridget Jones's Diary meets reality TV. From Polyester Lester in Alaska premiumpolar.com/polyester) who just started a band and wants to know what you think of his haircut, to Becky in France mybluehouse.com/weblog) who can teach you how to brew a Scotch cocktail called a kilt lifter, bloggers star in their own never-ending soap opera. The result is less intrusive than a webcam but somehow more revealing.
I had to try it for myself. So I went to blogger.com created by Pyra Labs, which is based in San Francisco and is kind of an assembly line for new blogs. I was amazed how few clicks it takes to get up and running. All you have to do is decide on a title, choose one of the dozen or so nifty color templates and provide the address of the website where you want it published. You can get a free site at places like Yahoo.com and Tripod.com or Blogger will host your words of wisdom free if you accept advertising. Ad-free blogs cost $12 a year.
Given how daunting it is for novices to set up a good-looking website on their own, Blogger is almost like cheating. I should know: it has been 18 months since I bought the website name DailyBlah.com and in all that time I never mustered the courage to knuckle down and learn enough HTML (the language of the Web) to turn it into the irreverent news-and-views site I had in mind. After five minutes on Blogger, Daily Blah was finally in business.
Making journal entries is simplicity itself. Type your blindingly brilliant insight or cool link in a white box on the Blogger website, run it through the optional spellcheck, and hit the button marked PUBLISH. Blogger provides the date, the time and the layout. If you libeled Granny and didn't mean to, you can take back and edit any posting. I had one small hiccup: adding links for the first time isn't as intuitive as it could be. Otherwise there has never been a better way to let your voice be heard. We may not all look like RuPaul, but that's no reason to let him hog the limelight. Get blogging!