What is a blog, you ask?
The term comes from the combination of web and log, or web log.
“The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999. Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used “blog” as both a noun and verb (“to blog,” meaning “to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog”) and devised the term “blogger” in connection with Pyra Labs’ Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.” — from Wikipedia
Blogs may contain “diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites.” They also differ in type; from the personal blog to the political blog, and can focus on one specific subject or a wide variety of topics.
Before the advent of blogs, digital communities appeared in the form of e-mail distribution lists, bulletin board systems, and forums. The earliest blogs were online diaries, containing the personal accounts of the bloggers’ lives. Justin Hall was recognized by the New York Times magazine as the “founding father of personal blogging,” having started blogging as a college sophomore student in 1994. Sadly though, he retired from blogging in 2005.
Today, blogs take on different forms. From the personal blogs to the corporate or brand blogs to the political blogs, the blogosphere has grown to a complex, interconnected web of writers. It used to be that you needed to work for a newspaper or a magazine in order showcase your writing; there is no more need for that. Just create your own blog and write away.
The impact of blogs is certainly huge. Political blogs can be breaking, changing, and shaping to the political world. Just Google about the events in 2002 concerning U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and you’ll know how powerful blogs have become. Fashionistas blog about the latest trends and avid followers gobble up the newest designs and blog about it themselves. Gossip blogs talk celebrity and policial rumors. Gaming blogs spread news about the latest PC and video game tips, strategies, and other goodies. Corporate blogs are used by companies in order to promote their brands and products. The blogging community has literally blurred the difference and semi-merged with mass media.
Definition of a blog
WordPress’s Codex on Introduction to Blogging explains in details what a blog is, provides a general outline, and talks about things needed to start blogging. The Codex lists five basic elements that a blog usually contains:
- A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
- An archive of older articles.
- A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
- A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
- One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files.
With these five elements, a blog is born. Of course, it’s up to the author and owner of the blog to help it grow and sustain its life.
- The History of Blogging: 12 Years of Blogs (blogworld.com)
- Tumblr: The Evolution of Blogging to a New and Interactive Media Space (soundandinteraction.wordpress.com)