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their sites. Companies are using blogs to communicate directly with their customers.
Political campaigns are using them to get their message out. In large part, the reason
blogs have taken off is that the format is easy to work with. You can publish short items
as frequently as you like, and users know that when they visit the site they'll always see
the latest and greatest information right up front. In this lesson, I discuss a blogging
package you can install yourself called WordPress as well as a hosted blog tool called
TypePad. Google also offers a hosted solution that's free to use called Blogger, which
you can find at, and many people are starting to use Tumblr
(, a tool that makes it easy to create a blog around snippets found on
other sites. You may want to check them out, too.
Community Publishing Applications
Community publishing applications are similar to blogging tools in that they are usually
built around publishing items by date right up front. They differ from blogging tools in
that they are more centered around providing features for all the site's users, not just the
site's author or authors. Generally, these applications enable users to register as members
of the site, submit stories, and engage in discussions among themselves. Sites that incor-
porate this kind of functionality include and
Drupal ( is the most popular application in this category right now. It's a
community publishing system written in PHP. The application is written in a modular
fashion so that you can include only the features you want.
Wiki-style systems take the most radical and counterintuitive approach to content man-
agement. Most wikis not only allow anyone to view articles but also to edit them. Some
wikis require users to register before they can view or edit articles, but the wiki philoso-
phy is that every user is an editor. When most people hear about this concept, they imag-
ine that the result will be anarchy, but as long as there is a critical mass of users who
want the wiki to be useful, this type of system is resistant to attempted defacement.
Wikis generally keep a history of changes made to every article, so it's easy to go back to
an older version of a page if someone deletes things he shouldn't or otherwise submits
unwanted changes.
The most famous wiki is Wikipedia (, an online encyclopedia writ-
ten and edited by volunteers. Not only can anyone view the articles in the encyclopedia,
but they can also edit them. If you know something about Fargo, North Dakota, that's not
already in Wikipedia, you can look it up there and add your own information. Attempted
vandalism is taken care of by volunteers who keep an eye out for it, and volunteers han-
dle disputes over controversial content, too.
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