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Here a Blog, There a Blog, Everywhere a Blogger

Local Businesswoman Reports on Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies

George Orwell's view of the future is to "Bloggers" what Orville Wright's flight is to the International Space Station.

Blogger? It sounds like someone with a bad head cold referring to a member of the logging industry. It's not.

Rather it is 21st-century lingo for those that transmit their experiences, thoughts, fantasies and observations via the Internet or Web. “Blogging” is jargon for "Weblogging." And Weblogging is transmitting information in cyberspace to any and all who may be interested in the content.

It is also interactive, enabling the sender to communicate with the receiver on a question-and-answer basis. And it all happens in "Blog-osphere."

The blogging boom is creating instant publishers, journalists, critics, analysts and critical observers of history in the making. The latter was the role recently assumed by an Alexandria native and president/CEO of her own local Internet design and development firm.

Laura Machanic, head of New Target, located on South Washington Street, attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo, Norway, this past December, where former President Jimmy Carter was the recipient. She related her daily experiences on her own home page as a "blogger."

"I didn't want to be just a spectator, so I decided to do a daily blog of my experiences. It was really great. People would write back with all sorts of questions about the event and the history of the Prize," Machanic said.

"About 1,000 people viewed the blog over the five days I was there. I decided that I was going to use the technology that we are using to help our clients," she emphasized.

IN ADDITION TO MEETING Carter, she also spent time with the stars of the gala concert, particularly Carlos Santana, the internationally renowned guitarist and headliner of the show. "It was also a great opportunity to educate a lot of people about the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel, himself," Machanic said.

"It is the first international award given annually and was first presented in 1901," she related. "It is one of five original Nobel Prizes and the only one presented in Norway. All the others are given out in Sweden. The prize in economics was added in 1968 by the Bank of Sweden, but it's not considered as one of the original."

In addition to the prizes for peace and economics, the other original prizes are in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature. "Nobel insisted that the winner's nationality not be considered in the judging," she explained.

"The actual award ceremony is pretty simple," Machanic said. "It all takes place in Oslo City Hall. It's not at all like it was portrayed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind." The dinner and concert the next night are much more extravagant than the prize event."

IN MANY WAYS, Machanic seemed just as excited about her blogging experience as with the Peace Prize presentation. "It really made me a part of it," Machanic said.

It is estimated that a new blogger is joining [on the Internet] every second, with the current number in the half million range. They are operating in Blog-osphere, the name given to the universe of active Weblogs.

But most bloggers live in that zone of the blog-osphere known as vast "dark matter." It is composed of never-ending personal journals and limitless subject matters. There are blogs devoted to animals, hobbies, sports, historic episodes and whatever else they want to share with others.

Rebecca Blood, author, "The Weblog Handbook," maintains, "Blogging is a way for anybody with anything to say, to say it." Often it is used to keep family and friends informed.

Although blogging has become a social phenomenon, it is more of an unfulfilled promise than a new idea, Internet gurus have maintained. Blogging got a real boost after Sept. 11, 2001, when people needed a way to speak out.

The blog format lends itself to on-the-spot reporting of events and experiences. When someone sends something by blog, it reaches anyone with a Web browser. That can have both a positive and negative result.

It gives a whole new perspective to the old saying, "Be careful what you ask for." Big brother can be as close as the keyboard.