I received an interesting email from a D Trefethen asking a simple question “What is a Blog” which resulted in some deep reflection on the Blogosphere and what it has become. Whilst once upon a time Blogs were nothing more than the idle jottings of a geek few, blogs have long grown up from their journal roots to something much larger, bigger than an online diary.
Type “What is a Blog” into Google and the first definition is that of a journal, as provided by matisse.net. I disagree with the meaning, but part of their definition is correct: “Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently”. Next on the list is Blogosphere favourite Dave Winer posting at Weblogs at Harvard , who defines the structure of blogs more clearly than matisee: “A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.” and “The unedited voice of a person[s]”. Jonathan Sidener at SignonSanDiego gives a great definition of “Blogs were originally solitary endeavours, free digital soapboxes for anyone to rant or publicly wallow in angst or sorrow. Now, they’re connecting people. For a decade, Net observers have talked and written about how electronic communications could foster meaningful social connections, or virtual communities. Blogs seem to be fulfilling that role.”; Blogs as an outlet for meaningful social connections. Marketingterms.com goes for something smaller: “A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links”, but one of my favourite blog writers Trudy W. Schuett hits the nail on the head with what the Blogosphere has evolved to “blogs are really just a content delivery method…There’s nothing in that technology that requires a blog to have any specific kind of content. Sure, it can be your lunch menus or a detailed reportage of housebreaking a new puppy, but it can also be an effective way for groups to communicate with their members. It can also be a source of news for subject matter that’s not covered by traditional media, for whatever reason.”
So now for my attempt at a definition of “What is a Blog”
“A Blog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, underpinned with a content delivery system which provides the ability to deliver content frequently and with little skill, which builds meaningful social connections or virtual communities on any and all subject matters.”
Disagree, let me know!