What are blogs?

The Blogging Network

What is a Blog?

You have probably been registering an eyeful and an earful of the B word over the past several years. It has been pouring down from cyberspace like cosmic detritus, hitting earthlings at the rate of a few million hits a day. The world of blogging is collectively referred to as the “blogosphere”. As of December 2009, Technorati (an internet search engine that has been searching for and indexing blogs since 2002) had indexed more than 133 million blogs.

So how do we define blogging? Let’s see how some authorities define blog.

To begin at the beginning: the all-embracing Wikipedia pages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog) define blogs as:

“A blog (a contraction of the term ‘web log’) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or videos. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. ‘Blog’ can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, though some focus on arts (art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (video blogging), music (MP3 blog), and audio (podcasting).

Microblogging is another type of blog, featuring very short posts.”

Dave Winer (http://newhome.weblogs.com) gets to define blog in these words:

“A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comradery and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.”

Now to Matisse Enzer (www.matisse.net), who would define blogs as:

“A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is ‘blogging’ and someone who keeps a blog is a ‘blogger.’ Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog…”

There are plenty of definitions of what is blogging, but we will stick to these three.

If you focus on the salient points raised in these definitions (the emphasis is all mine), you will see that a blog is usually a website that:

  • is interactive (allowing readers to submit comments, as opposed to a static website, where only the website owner can effect changes in content);
  • focuses on specific subjects or topics or niches;
  • has an owner (the blogger) who usually makes (verb blogs) regular submissions (noun blogs);
  • shows the most recent submission (blog) first.

What are blogs made up of? Let’s see if we can define blog contents.

Though text dominates the contents of blogs, graphics, audio and video have a major presence, too.

The blogger acts as a kind of a guide, shepherding his readers, viewers and listeners through a journey of discovery in the subject his blog focuses on. He is spurred on by the questions and comments his readers chip in with.

A blogger knows his blog is going places when he gets comments that are meaningful — especially if they are comments from people seeking further information on something. If they are asking you questions, they are recognizing you as someone capable of providing them with answers.

As a short aside: I would define blogging as a way of giving value to readers.

There will always be the screwballs who will comment just for the sake of spamming your blog; you will receive jeering comments, angry comments, even obscene comments. You treat these comments with the contempt they deserve.

You can delete these comments, and you should do so whenever required..

Now, to go back to the definitions. Let’s define blogging skills.

What’s this? Blogging involves software that allows people with no technical background to update and maintain their blogs?

In other words: you don’t need to be a geek to be a blogger.

In plainer words, you can be a blogger, too, anytime you feel like it, even if you were a high school drop-out. Actually, I don’t think you even need to be a high school drop-out. I don’t see why you can’t set up a successful blog even if you have never seen the inside of a school in your life.

What these definitions have left out is the investment factor. You can’t define blogs without touching on this factor.

You do need to invest as much time and energy as you can, at least in the beginning. Obviously, the more you progress on the path from novice to grizzled veteran, the less time you will take over things. And the more income your blog gets you, the less you need to work. Outsourcing will enable you to work just as much as you want, on just whatever components of your blogging activities you prefer to work on. Like everyone else, you will have your strengths and your weaknesses; you need to work to your strengths and cover your weaknesses by outsourcing to competent workers.

Believe me, it does not need much monetary investment to set up and run a blog. You can read detailed information on the costs of blogging in my FREE super primer SMALL STEPS GIANT LEAPS. Download it by filling in your name and email in the boxes at the top of the right hand column and hitting “Access Now!”.

It is FREE, and it is very instructive.

It is my purpose in this blog to let you discover, in very simple language, how you can understand what is blogging and how you can set about it.

I welcome you to this exploration of The Blogging Universe.

Beam us up, Scotty.

In my next post I am going to talk about why so many people blog.

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Filed under: An Introduction to Blogging

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