What Is Blogging Really?
Today I want to talk about a subject I know best — blogging. Or at least I hope I do.
There are lots of articles out there that attempt to define what a blog is, but so much has changed recently I find myself asking what blogging really means to me.
Not long ago the term “blog” was really very simple to explain.
What Is a Blog?
The term “Blog” is short-form for the word ‘Weblog” (or web log). In it’s simplest sense I could describe a blog as a type of website with entries called ‘posts’ that are arranged by date in chronological order, usually starting from the most recent article at the top to the older entries at the bottom of the page.
Ethical bloggers link to their sources of information via hypertext markup. Blog software that is used to install and run a blog is also called a blog platform and the major blog platforms today are Wordpress and Blogger.
They also include XML newsfeeds (though not originally) and a comments section at the bottom of the “post” for readers to participate in the conversation.
* Given today’s ‘social’ web I would also add the most important aspect of true blogging is the ‘blogger’ has total control over his or her’s content. A trend that is unfortunately going by the wayside.
Types of Bloggers
Some entrepreneurial types saw blogging as an emerging market to exploit for making money (we might also call them a-listers, professional bloggers or sploggers). After all, that’s why they prefix URL addresses with the subdomain W(wild) W(wild) W(west).
Others saw blogging as an enabling technology for activism, promoting their personal agenda like the extreme political blogs that are so prevalent out there today.
We are seeing more brick and mortar corporations accepting blogging as a viable alternative (or an extension) to old school websites for promoting their products, services and engaging with their customers.
Of course the vast majority of bloggers out there are what I call “pure” bloggers who simply blog for the enjoyment of it. Often called “personal bloggers” they see blogging as an online diary or digital journal to write their thoughts, hopes and aspirations.
When I first started blogging (back in the stone age) I saw blogging in this purest sense — i.e. an empowering technology for the masses and citizen journalism. For me blogging is the biggest innovation for personal expression and publishing since the invention of the printing press.
Blogging Gets Social
Now blogging seems to include everything from social network sites like Facebook to the so-called micro-blogging services such as Twitter.
But are they really blogs? I wonder.
To be exact, in today’s online reality I believe it is no longer sufficient to just define what a blog is or isn’t anymore. But rather, a better question we should be asking might be to define what ‘blogging’ actually is with respect to technology because it is changing the landscape so rapidly.
What is Blogging?
Let’s take a look at Twitter for example. Many like to describe Twitter as a micro-blogging service. But is it really blogging?
We are only allowed 140 characters per ‘post’ (tweet). Sure, people can subscribe to our tweets and follow us but does that really make it blogging?
No matter what Robert Scoble or Darren Rowse may try to tell you - somehow I don’t think so.
Only lazy bloggers could call it blogging but in reality it’s more like a public chat service, or in web 2.0 terms you could also call it “social” chat. I think that is a more suitable description don’t you think.
I’ve often complained that Twitter sucks as a conversation tool because it is so inefficient to follow a conversation. Sure, there are third-party tools out there that can make it a little more convenient, but it’s still a stretch to call it blogging.
Regarding the social networking sites, I would compare them to a gussied-up version of the old 411 directories. The Facebooks out there aren’t really stand-alone blogs, but are instead large corporate websites offering accounts with pretty pictures and some “blogging” tools, like comments and newseeds for example.
But Facebook is a closed technology. So is that also blogging?
I suppose we could call them blog hybrids if you wish, but there is one huge difference separating them from the real blogs…
Users have no ownership over their accounts, and more especially - their own content. Users have little or no privacy and their content is owned by the corporation to use and sell at their own discretion.
(Believe me I know this from personal experience because Facebook cancelled my account and banned “Blog Bloke” just because I use a pseudonym. In fact they’ve been so ignorant about it they refused to even acknowledge my emails. Thankfully I never spent much time working on it.)
Therefore I wouldn’t call Facebook real blogging in it’s purest sense either, so I have a couple of questions that I’m hoping you can help me with.
HELP! This Stuff is Driving Me Nuts
- Shouldn’t we just call the Twitters and the Facebooks for what they really are — like “social” chatting or “social” websites for example? NOT blogging.
- Or could it be said that blogging is just evolving to the next level?
- But even then couldn’t it also be argued social networks are morphing into something completely different than what blogging originally intended?
- Am I just too old school for my own good?
- Am I obsessing and should I spend more time watching late-night TV infomercials instead of blogging like this?
- Or could you not care less?