What Is A Blog?

By Daniel Scocco

It is 2008; do we still need to ask ourselves what a blog is? I think so, and for two reasons. First of all we still have many misconceptions about blogging floating around the web. Pretty much every week I get at least one email from someone asking if I believe blogging has a future. My answer is always “as long as the Internet has a future, blogs do too.” You will see why I answer that below.

You also have countless articles being published every week where the author suggests that blogs are obsolete, and that the next big thing is micro blogging, or lifestreaming or something else. Again I don’t agree with any of those predicted trends.

The second reason for trying to define what a blog is in 2008 (many people have already done that in the past after all) is because blogging is a social phenomenon. As such, it is constantly evolving, and what was true two years ago might not be anymore.

Blogs Aren’t Necessarily Personal

The main misconception regarding the definition of blogs comes from people that associate blogs with their content. More specifically from people that associate blogs with the content from one particular type of blog: personal blogs.

In other words, those people think that blogs are online diaries where people share their opinions, ramblings and personal events.

Wrong!

That is just one of the things that you could do with a blog.

Today blogs are being used for all sorts of purposes. You have companies that use blogs to communicate and interact with customers and other stake holders. Newspapers that incorporated blogs to their main website to offer a new channel for their writers. Individuals that created a blog to share with the world their expertise on specific topics. And so on.

Separate The Content

If you separate the content from the website, it becomes much easier to work with the definitions.

Consider a person that wants to publish a Questions & Answers column online. She could use several types of websites for that purpose.

She could create an online forum, for example, where each thread would be an answer to a specific question. She could create a static HTML website and publish all the questions and answers on a single page. She could create a wiki where users would be able to edit the questions and answers directly. Finally, she could also create a blog where each post would contain a question and its answer.

As you can see, the content is not attached to the website. The picture below illustrates that (note that only four types of websites were used, but there are many more).

Obviously one type of website will be more suitable for a certain purpose than others. It would be easier for a company to use an online forum on its customer support section, for instance.

So What Is A Blog?

A blog is basically a type of website, like a forum or a social bookmarking site. As such it is defined by the technical aspects and features around it, and not by the content published inside it.

The features that make blogs different from other websites are:

  • content is published in a chronological fashion
  • content is updated regularly
  • readers have the possibility to leave comments
  • other blog authors can interact via trackbacks and pingbacks
  • content is syndicated via RSS feeds

Keep in mind that it is the bundle of those features that should define a blog. An online forum could also offer an RSS feed for example, but that would not make it a blog.

What Is Your Definition?

As I mentioned on the beginning of this article, blogs represent a social phenomenon, so they are in constant evolution. The Internet itself is changing very fast, so pin pointing a single definition for blogging is a hard task.

The definition above is my personal one, and I am sure that other people will want to add or remove details to it. Some might even completely disagree.

That is why I decided to turn the mic to the readers. I want to hear what you think a blog is. What characteristics define it? Is the definition changing over time?

I am looking forward to reading your definitions of blogs!

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81 Responses to “What Is A Blog?”

  • Guillermo

    And… Can it be in any language other than English?

  • Writer Dad

    Will do. See you before Friday.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Guillermo, yes any language is welcome also.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Gulermo, in fact it would be cool to have some foreign blogs participating, cause the definition might also be affected by social and cultural factors.

  • Dexter | Tech At Hand Dot Net

    I will try to submit article as usual :)

  • SEO Genius

    Sounds good to me, Daniel your a very clever guy, cunning plan to increase publicity.

    Anyways, for some reason i already have the eBook (Killer Domains) not sure where i got it from, but anyways i shall still do this. As i would like to share my own opinion on this topic too, i agree with yours to some extent however i would like a chance to adapt my own opinion on to the topic.

    Do we email you, or send you our link??

  • Daniel Scocco

    @SEO Genius, yeah emailing your post to me is fine. Guess I should have mentioned that on the article…

  • Carey Suante

    WOW! Finally a chance to be linked by an A-list blogger!

    Will write the post for what its worth!

  • Ultimate Blogging Experiment

    finally people are telling others what a blog is. There are too many people that try to figure out blogging and do not even know what it truly is. Great post and I will for sure recommend this to my readers.

  • Ramiro

    Another great post. Thank you.

  • Rarst

    This is going to be interesting. I had submitted my [short and newbish] entry via contact form. As I understood we are not filling comments here with them? :)

    PS is it just me or email notification of comments is broken? I had commented few times on dailyblogtips and hadn’t ever received single update :(

  • I Patel

    Thanks for the interesting contest. I will create a post asap.

    Thanks

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Rarst, I will check what wrong with the “subscribe to comments”

  • Germán

    Just wrote a What is a blog? post in my blog (it’s in Spanish ¿Que es un Blog?).

    Thanks for the opportunity 😉

  • SE7EN

    I already have that ebook but I really want to join anyway 😀
    I’m glad that you open to non-english post
    because I am not fluent in English enough to express all my thoughts
    but I’ll try to write in english as much as possible.

  • redwall_hp

    A nice, comprehensive explanation, and similar to my definition of a blog. I’ll be linking here in my Speedlinking post next Saturday.

  • Miss Gisele B.

    Daniel,

    I agree a blog today does not have to be a personal journal that is open to the world … it’s more often than not a sort of a magazine with short and long editorial features.

    Miss Gisele B.

  • Melvin

    Well daniel i was about to put my definition here when i read the last part… count me in dude..

  • Samuel

    Good idea! Just post ‘my’ definition on my blog.

  • Info Queen Bee

    Dear Daniel,

    The Blogs Carnival being organized by you is interestingly on “What is a Blog ?” and many bloggers like me will have a recap of what we are blogging, and what is blogging at all, and what is the future of Blogging, etc.

    You have kindled our thoughts to have a good revision and self examination of our blogging.

    Thanks in advance for the golden opportunity created by you, for bloggers and blog visitors.

    Advance Congratulations on your efforts to redefine Blogging.

    With regards
    Infoqueenbee

  • Pink Ink

    http://pink-ink-pink.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-is-blog.html

  • Shireishou

    is this ok if my English is bad? My blog is in English but my English is not good. I will participate if that ok ^^

  • NewsBar

    Our blog is everyday, local internet press edited by civil journalists. Only Polish version.

  • Gman

    Can I translate this post into Vietnamese and publish to my blog?
    Thank in advance

  • Gman

    http://gman-blog.blogspot.com/2008/08/blog-l-g-nh-ngha-v-blog.html
    this is my post

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Gman, yeah you can translate, as long as a credit link is provided.

  • Gman

    there is a link to this post at the first line.
    “Bài viết gốc” means original post

  • JayCruz

    I wrote a couple of days ago about this and concluded that you couldn’t define it concretely, but I was thinking more in terms of content related when people try to define blogs.

  • dane

    Excellent post, thanks for your advice.

  • SE7EN

    Is it end already? I want to write a post but I didn’t have much time these 2-3 days ago.
    I’m still in drafting process :( for me, writing in proper english takes some amount of time. I guess I’ll finish the post before Sunday.

  • JayCruz

    http://tapenoisediary.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/a-blog-is-just-another-meme/

  • SE7EN

    Here’s my post
    http://www.se7enize.com/nice/what-is-blog.html

  • Max@Viliat-Blog

    I would add to your list “what is a blog” things like:

    * blog is extendable with thousands of free plugins.
    * blog presentation (site layout and feel) can be easily modified with 100s of free themes.

  • Peter Phun

    I was researching “blogs” and its definitions when I came across yours. I like that you’re not dogmatic about it.

    I’ll be teaching a course on blogging using the WordPress platform in a couple of months, so I’ll be sure include your thoughts on blogs.

    I’m in agreement with you that today as it stands, a blog is just a kind of website.

    The open source community like WordPress has created such a powerful content management system that creative types who don’t want to learn the hassles of CSS, html and other web technologies are now empowered to just concentrate on their content.

    That will be the emphasis of my blogging class.

  • Stefan Wurz

    Good idea! Just post ‘my’ definition on my blog.

  • Yusak

    Thanks for your opinion.i have a question,,can i create a blog if my english is bad??

  • Barbara

    Is there a dictionary of computer language ? I don’t understand a word of all the above !! What IS a Blog ???

  • blackfoot

    another feature of a blog is that it is easy to set up and maintain… you don’t need to have an in-depth knowledge of HTML tags… just press the button and watch it work =)

  • Jamal Ahmad

    Actually, your speech is not clear at all about Blog that what is Blog and how it works.
    Still i am not clear about Blog, can some one define blog what is it and how it works.

  • Yuri Lott

    Hi there, what differs a blog system from a publishing system?
    Nowadays everybody calls news site a ‘blog’. It is wrong.
    What differs a news site of a news blog?

  • john

    I do not understand how people have the time and inclination to compose drivel and send it out to the world

  • rmveerappan

    I concur with Jamal Ahmed. will somebody make it more easier to understand .

  • Priyanka D

    Interesting.. the difference between a blog and website is quite valid. Often nowadays a blog can look vry much like a website.. but it is still a blog.

  • Naveen Agarwal

    A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”

  • Daily Good Tips

    I have a blog but it is not updated regularly. Now, I am knowing that if we have a blog we must update our blog daily.

  • Rus

    Many politicians keep a blog … cities … etc. Blogging is a personal way of informing – micro blogging (twitter/facebook) will always be shallow and impersonal.

    Also, don’t forget that a lot of people open up blogger or wordpress blogs and use their own domain name – turning it more into a website than a blog.

  • marciano guerrero

    I’ve been writing blogs for 3 years now, but my readership is still scanty–it ranges from 20 to 70 on weekdays. How do you increase the visitors?

  • nick

    I think BLOG is related to article writing..in which u love to write..that’s why people write the blog. people not interested in blogging can’t write that’s by you are called as a blogger….who writes blog…simply..nice blog thanks..

  • Christian Guico

    Great article! I’m quite new to blogging and this post clearly explains everything related on what a blog is. Thanks for sharing.

  • jorge jacobo

    It’s funny even though it’s july 2011 I can found this entry through google.
    My experience is that it wasn’t until I decided to start my own blog, it’s then that I understood the real meaning of it and how it works.

  • Rohit Sharma

    I also agree to Jorge Jacobo!

    Though the blog definition is all the same for me but the wonderful part its ability of archiving articles which can be referred in any time by any one

    If one is not monetizing out of it plays a key role in the value addition.

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