Blogging provides way to online voice


Leia Scofield found Weblogs during a lazy afternoon's Web surfing four years ago and was quickly drawn to the online journals' simplicity and ordinariness.

"It might not have been that I was seeing such greatness out there," said Scofield, 25, a Dallas Web developer. "It was just everyday people talking about their everyday life and pointing to interesting things on the Internet that made me think I could do it."

Already comfortable with the Web, Scofield plunged in and created "Random Thoughts from A Large Head" ( randomthoughts) and started writing a journal for all to see.

Most blogs - a term created by fusing "Web" and "log" - follow this basic formula: The author periodically posts text, links, etc., and readers comment on them. They come in a variety of flavors. Some are devoted to single topics such as politics, entertainment or love. Others are free-ranging diaries.

In the past few years, blogs have proliferated across the Internet, covering every subject imaginable. Lately, media outlets, politicians and corporations have jumped on the bandwagon.

Scofield, who founded in 2001, said the group lists an estimated 450 blogs by North Texans and holds a monthly happy hour. "Probably about 100 of those have updated in the last two weeks," she said.

Scofield began blogging the way many peers did. She put up her first site using the popular Web service A division of Google Inc., Blogger lets users create and update blogs for free. Users need not have programming experience to use the service.

"What Blogger ... allows you to do is it gives you an easier way to archive your posts," Scofield said. "And it publishes the post in the templates that you have created."

Many bloggers who start with Blogger, including Scofield, often switch to more advanced services such as, which require more technical expertise but offer greater design control and flexibility.

If launching a blog is easy, finding something interesting to say is far from it. Scofield said she struggled to find her voice at first.

"I don't think a lot of my early stuff," the Florida native said. "It was things like, 'Oh, it hasn't rained for 70 days now.' Eventually, as I got comfortable with it and things happened in my life ... I just started writing about weird things."

Her recent postings have included a list of things to do with a 3 1/2 -hour layover at the Atlanta airport.

When she thinks of something to post, she does so quickly. Making additions involves visiting a protected Web site. But sometimes days go by before she makes new contributions.

The site has become a vehicle for Scofield to keep in touch with family and friends. It also has been a way for her to make friends.

"I have met people that I got work out of," she said. "I have dated people. I have met all these fascinating people that I wouldn't have otherwise met because they were from such varied places."

Have there been any downsides?

Scofield believes that there are few, but bloggers must keep in mind their posts are open for all to read.

"It's kind of funny, because [co-workers] will talk to me about things that are on my site, and I will be like, 'How do you know that?'" she said. Scofield doesn't write about where she works as a rule.

Part of the blogging lifestyle includes keeping up with other blogs - in Scofield's case as many as 200.

She keeps a list of them on, which tracks updates to Web pages.

"I probably spend too much time reading other blogs," she said. "But it makes the Internet interesting for me."

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