What is a Blog? - a web log
What is a blog? I've asked this question myself, simply because at one time I didn't know. I manage a couple of blogs now, so I'm much more familiar with this type of web presence.
Blog is a term that combines the words "web" and "log" together to get "blog." It signifies a log on the web.
Some early blogs were personal accounts of daily activities. Topics can be mundane, others can be cute, and still others discuss current events of general interest.
Blogs present articles as their main feature. The articles can be lengthy, but most often they're short and to the point. These short articles are called posts. Think of someone posting a single page notice on a bulletin board, and you'll get the idea.
When I think "what is a blog," I think about the posts as a sort of news commentary on a single subject. They're typically current, to the point, and combine facts with opinion, insight and advice.
Posts can contain photos, graphics, video and audio, just like any web page can. For each post, an opportunity to comment is typically offered so you as a reader can agree, disagree or provide additional insight. Posts are designed to attract attention and promote interaction among viewers.
There are several things that are very appealing about a blog. The question, "what is a blog" can be answered largely by looking at four of the most distinctive characteristics of a blog:
- It's a diary or journal of current events and activities that changes with some frequency, often each day.
- Readers get to participate through discussion with the writer as well as other readers.
- Because of the interactive nature of a blog, there is a much better feeling of being connected with others.
- Through category, tag (keyword) and archive searches, readers can research blog content and access material presented months and even years ago.
Blogs have added a new dimension to the Internet. Instead of it being a place for research, viewing and listening, a blog makes it a much more interactive place where even those of us who don't have a website or blog can participate and make our views heard.
Here is the Self Reliance Works, a good example of a blog that uses a three column format. The right column provides a means of research by topic or year and month of the post. The center column offers the 10 most current articles/posts, with related and suggested posts identified at the end of the article. The reader can navigate to older and newer posts at the very bottom of the page. The left hand column offers recent comments and other references for the reader.
There are also "pages" listed just below the banner to direct readers to discussion that explain what the blog is all about, the team that writes it, and certain policies and advisories. These static "pages" provide added structure and better understanding for the reader, while the center column provides the daily articles and posts that are of central interest.
Individual posts are identified much like a web page, with a unique file name. This allows links to be made directly to a post. The homepage of a blog also has a unique file name, but the content of the page constantly changes with each new posting, so if you want to link to a particular post, you have to click on the title of the post and then highlight the file name in the address line of your browser.
So, there you have it - the blog. If you ever wondered "what is a blog" like I once did, you're now better prepared to answer that question. The face of the Internet is always changing, and no doubt the face of blogs will also change, but now you know their fundamental characteristics.
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