A weblog or blog is a web site where an individual records his ideas, observations and opinions, inspires comments from others and links to other web resources. The format is flexible (a personal journal, an interactive information management) and its style is informal - immediate and with personality. Blogs are public and searchable on the Internet. Blogging has revolutionised traditional on-line communication and is proving its tremendous potential to do the same in marketing.
Business-blogs offer organizations a platform where information, data, and opinion can be shared and traded among employees, customers, partners, and prospects in a way previously impossible: a two-way, open exchange.
A blog is what all “websites wanted to be” updated on a regular basis, contains content that is of interest to a select or target audience and is easy to update and change. Blog technologies can be described as “content management made simple.” Much has been made of the potential of blogs to renew involvement of people in politics and reinvigorate public live, especially in the UK by well-intentioned groups like Vox Politics and the Hansard Society.
Blogs are not democratic. Readers of blogs get value out of the content provided by the author, otherwise they would not visit it repeatedly. Participatory journalism and participatory democracy enabled by blogging does not make much sense to me since blogs are anything but democratic. I decide what goes on my blog, you don’t get to decide about it. What the readers and other bloggers decide however, is whether it is worth their eyeball and further involvement in comments. If you want to participate more, start a blog. The only ‘democratic’ feature of blogging is that anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to it.
Blogs are tools. Even if 99% were boring, self-indulgent blogs where feeding their cat was the highlight of the author’s day, one effective blog is enough to demonstrate that it can be a potent tool put to other uses. The fact is, there are many, many blogs that demonstrate just that.
There are two distinctive features to a blog:
- the format & style: elements such as permalinks, TrackBack, comments, blogroll and archives
- the social network: the blogosphere, including the niche(s) of the blogosphere into which an individual blog may fit
The network is a natural byproduct of the format and style. Therefore, we believe that these are the minimum criteria for defining what a blog actually is.
As a rule of thumb, we say that if you cannot link to individual articles, it is not a blog. Permalink rules. Otherwise, the format is that of a blog, but only at the most rudimentary, superficial level.
There is a lot more to the blog format, of course, but that is the minimum. The trick is to explain just how the particular format features and other blog functionality such as RSS gave rise to the blogosphere phenomenon and to many other aspects of online communication. Most people tend to judge a new medium according to the old one it may be vaguely replacing, no matter how different the new medium actually is. It takes time for them to see the full extent of the difference.
Further reading: Why Bill Gates backs blogs for businesses