Blogging has never been more popular, from Prince Harry in Afghanistan to Tom Cruise raving about Scientology and footage from the Burmese insurrection. It can help elect presidents and impeach attorneys general while also celebrating the minutiae of our daily interests. Here are the top 10 reasons to connect.
The Huffington Post immediately rose to power as one of the web's most influential and popular publications. It enlisted the help of professional columnists and famous bloggers. It sucked up traffic. Its introduction was a watershed event in the growth of the web because it demonstrated that many of the old principles still applied to the new medium: marketing skill and huge finances could go just as far as geek credentials, and even quicker.
Techcrunch began in 2005 as a blog on Silicon Valley dotcom start-ups, but has swiftly grown to become one of the most prominent news websites in the whole technology sector. As a lawyer and entrepreneur, Michael Arrington experienced the internet gold rush before determining that writing about emerging firms was a better prospect than founding one himself.
His site is now the third-most popular blog in the world, according to the search engine Technorati, generating a mini-empire of websites and conferences as a result. Arrington was designated one of the 25 most prominent people on the internet by Business Week, and Techcrunch has even secured interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain.
Kottke's blog is still one of the purest old-school blogs on the block - it's a collection of links to websites and articles rather than a repository for extensive personal opinion - and, while it's still rather esoteric, his favourite themes include movies, science, graphic design, and sport. He frequently picks up on trends and occurrences before your pals transmit them to your email.
Kottke's deliberate avoidance of politics (he professes himself 'not a fan') might be part of his attraction, especially because the blog's voice is literate, serious, and inquisitive, in contrast to most of the red-faced raving found elsewhere online.
Heather Armstrong, one of the most well-known personal bloggers (those who give more of a diary than a soapbox or news service), has been blogging online since 2001. Though there were personal webpages before hers, many factors coalesced to make Dooce one of the most widely read public diaries since Samuel Pepys's (whose diary is itself available, transcribed in blog form, at Pepysdiary.com).
Armstrong was primarily one of the earliest high-profile incidents of someone being dismissed for blogging about her profession. Armstrong was fired after disclosing events that her company, a dotcom start-up, believed reflected poorly on them. The incident sparked such heated controversy that Dooce became a verb in popular language (sometimes without people realising it).
The Report began as an email gossip sheet, then evolved into a trashy webzine with no traffic. However, it became a national sensation in 1998 as a result of the choice to broadcast a slanderous allegation about Bill Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky that had gone unnoticed by mainstream media.
Recent revelations include Barack Obama dressed in tribal attire and Prince Harry's service in Afghanistan. Drudge's tabloid sensibilities are reviled by journalists and serious bloggers, but his place in media history is assured. And, as much as they despise him, the hackers all keep an eye on his front page in case he gets another president-nobbling story.
Treehugger is a green consumer blog on a goal to make a sustainable lifestyle accessible to the general public. Its premise, that a green lifestyle does not have to be sacrificed, as well as its pleasant, optimistic vibe, have attracted over 1.8 million unique users every month.
Treehugger is consistently ranked among the top 20 blogs on Technorati, but it also has 40 writers from a wide range of backgrounds in more than ten countries around the world, who generate more than 30 new posts a day across eight categories ranging from fashion and beauty, travel and nature, to science and technology.
Treehugger began as an MBA class project four years ago and now claims to produce enough cash through sponsorship and advertising to compensate for all of its employees and operations.
It has grown a large and active community and has added popular services such as TreeHugger.tv and Hugg, a user-generated blog. The Discovery Channel reportedly paid $10 million for it last year.
Founded by Satoshi Yamasaki and Mazaki Keito of Osaka, is Japan's most popular blog, covering the newest in junk foods and beverages, games, toys, and other colourful pop product culture elements.
Visitors first see 'eye candy' like David Beckham condoms (from China), 75 turtles in a fridge, Mega Frankfurter packaging, or a life-size Ferrari knitted from wool, then learn that a second X-Files film is in the works, watch a vacuum-cleaning robot being tested, and compare taste reports of Kentucky Fried Chicken's new Shrimp Tsuisuta Chilli.