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Blogs: Fame and Fortune

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Blogs began as online diaries and journals back in the mid-1990s. The new format seemed a natural shift from old technology to new, in this case from pen and paper to the Internet. Since then, blogs have exploded in popularity, as people continue to experiment with the new communication medium. The word, short for web log, has become part of the English language as both a noun and verb, and was word of the year in 2004. A blog writer is better known as a blogger.

At present, it's estimated that more than 100 million blogs regularly receive new content, usually articles, from their authors. There are more blogs out there, though, which have been abandoned and no longer get updated. Bloggers don't limit their topics to everyday experiences and thoughts like old-fashioned diaries. They write about business, politics, travel, current events, and so on. Some people even write about writing a blog! Many of the online journals mix videos, music, art, and photos with the written content, too, creating a very unique sensation for the visitor.

Blogs have begun to influence society in recent years, and some sites and bloggers have become household names. Bloggers often pick up news stories that traditional mass media ignores. They share the news with their readers, who then spread the news to other sites, bulletin boards, and social networks. As the information spreads across the Internet, mass media eventually joins in. Newspapers, radio, and TV broadcast the story. Bloggers have revealed political scandals, as well as secrets about companies, industries, and Hollywood celebrities. Bloggers have even disproved news stories from traditional media sources.

With blogs a part of mainstream society, it shouldn't come as a surprise that people make money from blogging. Although most people write for personal reasons, others seek cash, fame, or some combination of the two. Most people who blog for bucks earn only $100 or less per month. In fact, 10% earned less than thirty-three cents per day, which equals a cup of coffee and a dozen doughnuts at the end of the month. However, on the opposite side of success, 10% of bloggers raked in more than $10,000 per month. And the very top bloggers, who may run several sites, claim to earn more than one million dollars per year!

As can be expected, another industry has sprung up around blogging for bucks. There are websites and blogs devoted to teaching anyone how to make money through blogging. Courses, seminars, and personal one-to-one coaching make it sound easy to quit the office for a fulltime income online. There are over 75 million hits for the phrase "blog for money."

The hope of easy money has always lured people. Fame has been similarly powerful. Blogging is still a new idea, so many people don't realize the difficulty and dedication required. Only the very best and the very lucky get rich or enjoy name recognition. All other bloggers must be content with smaller forms of success.


Instructions:

Step 1: You will listen to an article about blogs and blogging The article is about five and a half minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything.
Step 2: Read and understand the questions, then listen again. As you are listening, try to answer the questions in your head. Don't write the answers yet. Next, listen again and write the answers this time. Check your answers with a partner.
Step 3: Read the article. Check in your dictionary any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more?
Step 4: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!


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