The philosophical question of the day is: if you don't blog, micro-blog, or social network, do you exist? Certainly not to the multimillions, or billions, who at least read postings from blogging and social network sites like Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed.
Tris Hussey is one such blogger and is probably more intense about it than most. He is a longtime blogger, educator and speaker, and writer of blog related topics. His background and enthusiasm for the topic and casual, easy-going writing style serve him well in authoring "Creating Your Own Blog: Six Easy Projects to Start Blogging like a Pro."
Even though online software tools make it easy for nearly anyone to start blogging those who want to do it well for personal or professional reasons will benefit from the guidance found in this book. Hussey is comprehensive in his approach: he describes blogging as essentially storytelling and is enthusiastic and inspiring about it; he gives a short history of storytelling online via simple to very sophisticated tools; he details how to set up, install, and configure both hosted and self-hosted sites; and he even shows how to make money while blogging.
The meat of the book is in chapters 5 through 9 where he details how to set up and maintain personal, business, podcasting, video, and portfolio blogs. In chapter 10 he explains "online life streaming" where blogs, micro-blogs, social networking sites, and mobile communications converge into a mash of running digital history in real-time--for those not concerned about their life activities being stored permanently in searchable online databases.
Managing all of this does get complicated and Hussey is adept at explaining the how and why of spending the time to do it well and right. The book contains information on intellectual property issues and Digital Rights Management, privacy, search engine optimization, controlling spam and abusive commenters, as well as examples of blogs he admires or believes are models of good blogging.
Instead of covering all topics in depth, he shortcuts by detailing better choices and practices from his own experiences. He provides express recommendations on blogging hosts (he likes WordPress best,) hardware (microphones) and software choices. His emphasis in such choices is on low-cost and ease-of-use options. There is enough material to satisfy those with advanced needs and capabilities. The mashing of blog; photo, audio and video posting sites;and social networking sites is especially worthwhile for serious online communicators.
Hussey writes from experience as one of the earliest bloggers and one of the more prolific ones. He writes with some humor and in an easy-going style that is easy to follow and absorb. The book is heavily illustrated with screenshots of blog pages, websites, and applications along with some graphic illustrations and photos of hardware. There are stylized "Tips, Notes, New Terms, Cautions, an Idea Galleries" throughout. I found many of the screenshot illustrations to be too dark or too finely printed to be useful. Younger eyes may not have a problem.
This is a very good book for those thinking about starting blogging for business or personal reasons.
FTC disclosure (16 CFR Part 255): The reviewer has accepted without solicitation a reviewer's copy of this book which is his to keep. He intends to provide an honest, independent, and fair evaluation of the book in all circumstances.