The Real Question is “What Is A Blog”?
2013 is already well under way, and here we are still wrestling with the concept of blogs and what is a blog used for. Well…some of us are, at least. While the rest of the world has moved on to the science of blogging and how to use it to make piles of cash (not really), there are actually a few good reasons for, once again, going over the definition of a blog in this day and age.
Why define what a blog is?
What are these reasons? For one thing, many people are as yet uncertain with regard to blogging’s place in the grand scheme of things. Derided as little more than a trend in its early years, blogging is now considered by some to have a limited future, with its demise ever looming on the horizon.
The rise of a number of hot new trends has also planted the seeds of doubt with regard to blogging’s future. Micro-blogging and lifestreaming are only two of the new kids on the block that seemingly threaten the blog’s very existence. Given the emergence of these new platforms, it isn’t all that surprising that some industry observers are quick to predict the end of the blog as we know it, as inaccurate as that perception may be.
Another important reason for defining and redefining a blog is that it has become something of a social phenomenon by now. This means that it is constantly undergoing changes, with common practices from only a few years ago holding little relevance today.
What blogs are and what they aren’t
At its most basic, a blog is often defined as a website in which information or ideas are shared. However, it is actually more accurate to define blogs according to their technical features and construction rather than by its content. Blogs can be differentiated from other websites by these characteristics:
- content is published chronologically
- content is regularly updated
- comments are allowed and even encouraged
- content is meant to be shared even by other bloggers
- content is syndicated by way of RSS feeds
It is important to note that blogs are usually only defined as such when they have all of these characteristics and more. Certain websites may have an RSS feed for instance, although it may not fit into the definition of a blog or what is a blog.
One often held misconception about blogs is that they are always personal in nature. While it is true that their use as a sort of online diary was its primary function in its early years, blogs today are really so much more than that. Sure blogs are still used for sharing opinions, announcements, and pretty much anything that comes to mind, but they have since evolved into more varied uses.
Companies that have an online presence are well known for using blogs in several imaginative ways. In particular, these can be used to foster an online community comprised of their customers and even shareholders. People with experience in specific fields may also use blogs to share information and knowledge among interested audiences.
This is only a small cross section of what defines a blog, and it will surely expand even more in the coming years. How would you define what is a blog? Share your comments below.