Defining a Blog
If you were setting out to write an article titled “What is Blogging, Anyway?”, you would probably start out by looking into the topic the way any true internet researcher would: by typing “Blog” into Wikipedia and seeing what results came up. The definition of what constitutes a blog is fairly inline with what you might expect:
A blog (a truncation of the expression web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
While certainly an accurate description of the basic formatting of a blog, it only scratches the surface. While the formatting for a blog may be similar, the content of a blog is in no way restricted and can vary from person to person (or from corporation to corporation, organization to organization, etc.) depending on the needs of the author/authors.
The Personal Blog
While some of the early moderated newsgroups that existed when the internet was new might be considered the start of blogging, it was the “online diary” that is widely seen as the predecessor to the modern blog.
Claudio Pinhanez’s Open Diary is often attributed to being the first online diary. While lacking some of the more robust appearance options seen in today’s various blogging platforms, Open Diary would nevertheless serve as inspiration that would lead to sites like LiveJournal, Blogger, or even WordPress.
In a time when corporate and organizational blogs are on the rise, the personal blog (or a memoir blog as it is also referred to) continues to be one of the mainstays of the blogging community.
Corporate and Organizational Blogs
While blogging may have started as a sort of personal form of self expression, it has quickly found its way into the business world as well.
Just as prevalent as the corporate blog are blogs run by organizations. They can be as humble as your local college WordPress magazine or as large as the World Wildlife Foundation.
Microblogging is a relatively new phenomenon in respect to traditional blogging. Microblogging differs from the standard structure you would normally see in a traditional blog.
Rather than the relatively lengthy post you might normally see, in microblogging the content shared is much smaller: short sentences, individual pictures, current location, etc. These short posts are known as microposts.
While posts (or “status updates”) in Facebook or Myspace are considered microposts, Twitter is probably the best representation of microblogging as microposts in Twitter (known as “tweets”) are limited to 140 characters.
Due to the rapid rise of social media over the last ten or so years, the amount of microblogging being done has also risen exponentially.
Where Does The Future Lead?
As technology constantly evolves and with so many different types of blogs out there, predicting the future of blogging is neither an easy nor an enviable task.
With the rise of microblogging and social media as well as the shift towards an “always online” culture, some have speculated that the traditional personal and professional blog as it is known today might be heading towards its end.
The question is whether or not the traditional blog can adapt to cultural and technological changes both current and future. Rather than asking, “Is the blog dead?”, a more interesting (and prevalent) question might be, “How is the blog going to adapt to survive?”.