Internet tips

By SUZY TURNER online@algarveresident.com

Suzy Turner has lived in Portugal for 22 years and works as a freelance writer. As well as putting pen to paper for the Algarve Resident’s online section, she also contributes to the beauty and fashion columns and is also the Features Editor.

The blog phenomena

The word blog is simply an abbreviation of ‘Weblog’. It’s your own easy-to-use website where you can write your thoughts and ideas about life, like an online diary. Somewhere you can showcase your writing skills, perhaps.

All in all, a blog is a free space on the internet that you can use for almost anything you like (within reason, of course). Blogger.com says: “A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.”

Literally millions of blogs exist today. There are countless people, often journalists, who use their blogs to post the latest news and views about what’s going on in the world, for instance, but the most common blogs are those created for personal use. Some interesting examples of personal blogs include www.loobylu.com, www.thesartorialist.com, www.thepioneerwoman.com, www.fiveblondes.com and www.oneyearofbeauty.blogspot.com

There are blogs for all subjects. www.ukgolfblog.com, for instance, is all about the world of golf. Alternatively, try www.topgear.com/uk/blogs for all things to do with that great show for car lovers!

Another reason why many people create blogs is to get things off their chests, yet remain completely anonymous. Anonymity (or not) is completely up to the ‘blogger’ (a person who writes a blog). If you want people to know who you are, there is a section entitled ‘My Profile’, which gives you the option of posting a little, or a lot, of information about yourself – or the ‘fictional’ you.

All blogs have the ability for readers, or fellow bloggers, to leave commentary or a reaction about what they have read – an important part of the blogosphere (the universe of blogs and bloggers) as it gives you the chance to see what others think of your writing, photos and so on.

Creating a blog is as simple as sending an email. The most difficult aspect is thinking of a suitable name for it!  There are plenty of blogging websites that you can use. One of the most popular ones is www.blogger.com or www.blogspot.com (they are one and the same), which I used when creating my own blog. All you need is a blog name, an email address, a password and, of course, your imagination. If you love the idea of self-publishing, then you’ll love blogging!

Check out my blog on www.iberianbird.blogspot.com and feel free to leave any comments.

Saving energy

A really fun website comes, strangely enough, from Quebec’s Agence de l’efficacite energetique (Energy Efficiency Agency), to demonstrate how best we can save energy – something that is very important in today’s day and age. Visit http://www.aee.gouv.qc.ca/en/energuy/game/ and play the ‘game’. It’s very unusual fun!

Smart fun

I found this little gem of a website to also be good fun. http://www.truthaboutsmart.co.uk/ is an interactive site that highlights the many advantages of owning a Smart Fortwo. Who knew that you could fit a washing machine inside such a tiny car? Even I didn’t, and I used to own one! Another great Smart car site is http://www.playsmart.jp/ – where you can design your own and then play online!

Dance with Ikea

For a really unusual website, check out http://demo.fb.se/e/ikea/comeintothecloset2/site/default.html

From Ikea, this site is controlled by sound and features dancers who move to whatever music you play. It’s good fun and is also a great way to see some of the famous Swedish company’s fabulous wardrobes.