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The Blog Is Dead: Long Live the Blog

Image by @lox

How do you define what a “blog” is? Back in the day, a blog was a weblog—an online journal. This definition had connotations of timeliness, of narrative, and of a personal focus.

But these days, blogging has expanded. Bloggers may be hobbyists or corporate CEOs. Blogs may be personal or professional. Even the tools that bloggers consider decidedly blog-focused, like WordPress, are used increasingly on news and other content sites.

So what is a blog? Where are the boundaries around blogging? Do they even exist any more?

Blogging is about content and community

This may be true, but it’s also true for much of the web. To say bloggers are content creators is a bit irrelevant: journalists are content creators, and so is your next-door neighbor who uploaded a video of his cat to YouTube.

If we break the web into the categories functionality-based sites (like online banking and ecommerce stores) and content-based sites, we see that there’s often not a whole lot of difference between “blogs” and other sites in the content category.

Whether we’re blogging with words, videos, audio files or images, regular updates to a site—even one like microblog Twitter—are generally regarded as “blogging”.

There are a few delineations, though. Wikis can be updated frequently, but they’re usually updated by users of the wiki itself, and they’re most commonly used as references. That said, many blogs seek to act as references of points of authority on their topic, as do wikis. Wikis may also provide a narrative if they’re used to store progress information—details about the evolution of, or updates to, a project, for example, or meeting minutes. This also reflects one of the common goals of blogging.

Forums, which can also be considered within the content site category, tend to be more conversational, and less get-the-facts-to-you focused. And the information they communicate tends to be less time-relevant than that on blogs or news sites. However, they, too, share some similarities with blogs: they aim to create community, and individual threads generally have a sense of narrative — a forum thread usually tells the story of a discussion.

Blogging is about publishing

A blog is a regular publication, and it’s true that there isn’t a huge variety of site types in the “regular online publication” category. There are ezines and electronic newsletters, and there are news sites. Other than that, the only regular publication site type is probably the blog (if you have others, add them in the comments!).

What unites these communication types is that they present content from a position of authority. In the publishing model, the publisher is the  brand and the authority, and any authors they present have the backing of the publisher. They usually publish on a specific topic for a specific audience, and they do so regularly. Their publication is effectively a product, which sets these site types apart from information repositories like wikis, forums and work folios.

Blogging is about meeting a need for information

Again, meeting a need for information isn’t something that’s unique to blogging. Even sites that offer pure functionality, like Delicious or Google, can fit this description. Forums, wikis, classified sites, and news sites are all focused on meeting a need for information. So are many emails, newsletters, RSS feeds, and so on.

So what’s unique about blogging? What defines blogging from any other kind of online content creation? Is it that blogging is a unique combination of factors—content, community, temporally-relevant publishing—or is there something else at play? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

About Georgina Laidlaw

Georgina Laidlaw is a freelance content developer, and Content manager for problogger.net. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I think it is definitely about community. You can get info from Google, but you can’t interact with the sources. Which is why it is so important for bloggers to respond to readers.

  2. Blogging is a really popular sphere nowadays. Particular websites which offer starting your own blog for free provide a great opportunity for people to express and share their thoughts, experience and knowledge. Besides, a lot of people use blogs in order to promote their own sites. Blogging is a great area of different points of view, news and just life situations. You can find a lot of helpful advice through blogs. Actually, Internet lead to development as there are such a great number of opportunities you can use. It’s awesome, as for me.

  3. San says:

    Blogging is a place to learn and share in your own way.
    Please who comes reading your post or feeding your content share something in common with your thoughts or got inspired by your contents.

    I am trying to use the blog the overcome my doubt about writing good contents in wide range of things in my own way and expect to see people get inspired by it.

    Thanks

  4. febri says:

    in my mind
    blog is fun ^_^

  5. I used to scoff at the idea of “blogs” and “blogging”. Eventually, I came around to recognizing it for what it is: an- easy-to-use platform to get your content out to more and more eyeballs and minds. Simple as that. The better your content and the harder you work at it, the better the chances of it getting seen and even, yes, making money–not just for you, but many others.
    Cool! Thanks for your thoughts!

    Peter

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  1. [...] was an interesting discussion in comments recently on a post called The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog on problogger.net. The point was to know what is making the a blog different from other media. What [...]