Gone are the days when, if you wanted to put something on the Internet, you needed to know how to write hypertext markup language (html), set up a web server and connect to it via an FTP (file transfer protocol) client to upload your files. While some might argue the ease of uploading content to the Internet has led to a decline in quality information available online, there is certainly no arguing that sharing content is easier than ever.
Sharing though social networks
From Twitter and Facebook to YouTube and Picasa, saving and sharing your thoughts, music and photos is as simple as typing into a box and hitting enter, or navigating to a file on your computer and clicking an upload button. Many smart phones even have sharing functionality built into their menus, so you can take a quick snap, chose a menu option, tag the people in the photo and upload it to your network in under a minute. Of course, only you can decide whether just because you can means you should upload that photo of your best friend getting rowdy at a party.
The digital river (the stream of constant updates from all connected users) on social networks is fast moving, though, and often your uploads will get lost in the tide. Although the networks are forever improving your control over how your content appears to you and your connected friends, your profile page is the only place you can really control, and even there, it's a lot of work for little real reward. If you want to project a certain image, or to control what information appears and in what order, you need either a Web site or a blog of your own.
Sharing though a blog
If you opt for a blog, (short for web log) you have control over the posts that appear on your home page and in what order. You can alter the look and feel of the blog using themes and templates, and build a professional looking site without knowing anything about coding. Uploading pictures and videos is as straightforward as on a social network, as you use an administrative back-end interface (a special web page that you log into to organize your files).
You can install plugins to a blog to add estores, offer digital download management, provide subscription services or manage commenting on your posts, so you can build your own community around the subject of the blog. Major blogging sites such as Wordpress or Blogger will host your site for free, or you can purchase your own web host and install the blog software on that. The difference is that, on the free versions, your address would the provider's name in your URL (e.g. http://www.mysite.provider.com), while on your web host you could more directly control your URL (http://www.mysite.com).
Sharing on your own Web site
Ultimate control over your own content comes from having your own hosted web space and your own domain name, but with it comes the need to learn how to install software, maintain the hosting account, and perhaps learn html and other coding languages.