She replied, "I read your blog. I know who you are and what you do, and I've been trying to find a way to approach you for weeks.
"I just saw you here and took my chance."
Clavier is only one of many Palo Alto residents who have discovered — and harnessed — the online world of blogs, personal Web pages that cover anything and everything imaginable, from day-in-the-life diaries to professional newsletters to citizen journalism.
With the creation of the user-friendly Moveable Type program — and such server-hosted blog providers as Blogger, Wordpress, TypePad and LiveJournal — anyone with an Internet connection can create a blog.
The ubiquitous MySpace site also allows users to post blogs as part of their personal Web pages.
According to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 8 percent of Internet users (about 12 million American adults) keep a blog, while 39 percent of Internet users (about 57 million American adults) read them.
Clavier started his blog, "Software Only," in 2004. It covers venture capital and business issues relating to Silicon Valley. At the time, blogs were rapidly becoming a powerful marketing tool within the business community; they have only become more vital in subsequent years.
"I basically decided that I couldn't be a part of that community without having my own blog," he said.
Business analysts like Clavier use their blogs to help their clients as well as raise their own profiles. Philippe Alexis, an online marketing specialist, writes a blog called "Hidden Gems," in which he gives advice on topics such as bringing more traffic to your Web site.
"That post is basically a way for me to say to them (clients), 'There it is. Go read it and then you know how to do it,'" he said. "Plus, it gets a lot of publicity for me, so it kills two birds with one stone."
Clavier originally heard about the virtues of blogging from his friends, including David Hornick, a fellow Palo Alto resident and venture capitalist. In early 2003, Hornick started "Venture Blog," the first blog dealing with his field, he said.
"A colleague and I started talking about how there should be more dialogue within the venture-capital industry. It's a really closed industry, and there's not enough opportunity for entrepreneurs to talk about issues important to entrepreneurs," he said.
Now there are around 60 venture-capital blogs, said Hornick, and "Venture Blog" has a readership of more than 30,000.
"Pretty big circulation for something I don't write enough," he said.
In addition to writing blogs, Hornick has also invested in Six Apart, the company behind Moveable Type. Hornick said the technology has made blogging much easier for less technology-savvy users.
"It's incredibly simple. It runs. It looks great," he said.
While "Venture Blog" is dedicated to business trends and advice for investors, Hornick has created other blogs for his personal life.
With his "Said Me" blog, Hornick writes about the trials, rewards and memorable experiences of raising four children.
"It's sort of the life and times of a bad parent, chronicled for your shock and dismay," he laughs.
It was Hornick's blog about fatherhood that inspired his wife, Pamela, to start the "Silicon Valley Mom's Blog" with her best friend, Jill Asher, last January. Although both moms were aware of "mommy blogs," they could not find a blog about motherhood in Silicon Valley.
"There are loads and loads of mommy blogs out there. I did not believe Jill that there could not already be a Silicon Valley Mom's Blog," said Pamela Hornick. "We wanted it to reflect some of the unique aspects of Silicon Valley."
Since then, their "baby" has grown into one of the largest — and most successful — "mommy blogs," with thousands of subscribers.
"We were absolutely shocked. We thought it would be viewed by our family and friends — and then blogs and sites and even companies started quoting us. The traffic just kind of exploded," said Asher, a mother of two.
The "communal blog" features posts from more than 40 moms across the Bay Area, with four to five new posts a day. The topics range from getting your kids vaccinated to buying a new house to blogging itself.
"There's a lot of writing about how it's so expensive to live here, about how a lot of moms who are very educated, very successful, are now stay-at-home moms," Asher said.
The "token dad" at the Silicon Valley Mom's Blog is Enoch Choi, one of the most prolific and experienced bloggers in Palo Alto. Occasionally offering the father's perspective, Choi was also one of the Silicon Valley Mom's Blog's earliest supporters.
"He's given us a lot of ideas," Asher said. "I really look up to him as sort of our mentor."
The father of two began blogging in 2003 after looking for an easier way to update his personal Web site. Moveable Type, he said, made it "so much easier to post whatever I wanted to write in a public place. It was really a huge, huge change. I went from spamming my friends with random stuff to being able to post a lot more."
A physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Choi now has three blogs —one in which he gets paid to discuss advances in medical technology.
"I never thought that anybody would pay me to write," he said. "I just figured that I would go along with my life and treat patients."
Another of his blogs, "Medmusings," covers any topics that interest him, from national news items to wines to theater reviews. It also features what Choi calls "citizen journalism" — local news by local residents.
"Part of the culture and ethic of blogging is getting stuff out there that other people aren't writing about and scooping the mainstream press," Choi said.
Choi recently posted an interview with a woman who was mugged while walking with friends down Center Drive before any local newspapers did, he said.
"They (bloggers) tend to be writing more about local stuff that they care about. Some bloggers call themselves citizen journalists or community journalists," he said.
Another important ethic of blogging, Choi said, is the encouragement of open debate on issues.
Part of being a blogger, he said, is "making yourself open to letting people comment on your blog, and you don't delete opposing comments."
Alexis echoes the sentiment, saying the most addictive part of blogs is the often-heated discussions on controversial topics.
Alexis remembers "not just reading a blog, but being involved in an online discussion of global warming. ... It forced me to check the facts, because I didn't want to say something that wasn't true. So I think the most rewarding part of blogs is that they challenge you to learn."
This story contains 1156 words.
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