Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bloggers without borders

Over at LP there's been big discussions about the value of blogging, and of blogging etiquette, especially when commenting. How rude can one be? What if someone takes offence from afar? Why blog at all? I'm not going to answer any questions here, because I've just spent the day ghost-writing an awful paper on artist's books that makes me glad I'm not openly the author, and my brain is at the point of hari-kiri. Besides, if you want to get really serious about these things, there's other blogs that will happily accommodate your needs :)

But I will offer this link which I stumbled upon at said ghostee's house while I was trying to keep my thoughts straight. It's a downloadable publication called the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents. Here's the blurb:

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they're tremendous tools of freedom of expression.

Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.

Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

I just downloaded it, and had a quick look. It's very good, gives simple explanations for blogging terminology, and talks about how to get your blog up, improved, noticed by search engines etc. It also talks about blogging ethics, which I'll read more about later. It's going to be published in hard copy, but you can download for free at the link, in either screen res or printer-friendly form.

I gave you the quick link; I originally found it at a site called Digital Souls, which has a varied selection of fun and freaky e-books and reviews, including a link offering 'mind-bending software' for kids. Have a read, it's bizarrely fun.

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