Communication and content presentation strategies still mirror existing models, particularly newspaper and magazine publishing. Email, for example, is merely an extension of existing mail systems. As such, it is about bending a new medium to an existing process.
Blogging is using a new medium for what it is good for - connecting and interacting. Blogging is a first generation tool built on, and taking advantage of, the unique attributes of the Internet. It has been dismissed as a self-centered passing fad...and as the new model of interactive journalism, communication, and learning
What is blogging?
Blogging, as with any new (or in transition) concept, is difficult to define - it has not yet fully become what it will be. Here are some attempts to define blogging:
"If we look beneath the content of weblogs, we can observe the common ground all bloggers share -- the format. The weblog format provides a framework for our universal blog experiences, enabling the social interactions we associate with blogging...These tools spit out our varied content in the same format -- archives, permalinks, time stamps, and date headers." ( Meg Hourihan )
Dave Winer defines weblogs as being: personal, on the web, published, and part of communities.
Halley Suitt details multiple characteristics, including: last place on earth to tell the truth, watching brains at work, a love letter, a diary, an open head - for the reader's convenience.
Still trying to define it…
"But what bloggers do is completely new - and cannot be replicated on any other medium. It's somewhere in between writing a column and talk radio. It's genuinely new. And it harnesses the web's real genius - its ability to empower anyone to do what only a few in the past could genuinely pull off. In that sense, blogging is the first journalistic model that actually harnesses rather than merely exploits the true democratic nature of the web. It's a new medium finally finding a unique voice." ( Andrew Sullivan )
"The best description I’ve read regarding blogging is that “it’s somewhere between writing a column and talk radio.”" ( Cass McNutt )
"A blog is defined as a Website with dated entries, usually by a single author, often accompanied by links to other blogs that the site’s editor visits on a regular basis. Think of a blog as one person’s public diary or suggestion list. Early blogs were started by Web enthusiasts who would post links to cool stuff that they found on the Internet. They added commentary. They began posting daily. They read one another’s blogs. A community culture took hold." ( Jay Cross )
Blogging, as detailed above, is a format constant (archives, links, time stamps, chronological listing of thoughts and links), personalized, community-linked, social, interactive, democratic, new model innovation built on the unique attributes of the Internet.
As an emerging tool, blogging uses have still not been completely explored. Some current uses:
Knowledge sharing and knowledge management - see Bottoms Up KM Development
Customer service - see Blogging Goes Corporate
Interactive journalism - see Instapundit
Learning - see SchoolBlogs
Campaigning/social reform - see Tara Grubb
Experience tracking - A K-log Pilot Recap
Storytelling - see Grassroots KM Through Blogging
Most common uses for blogging are personal and, considering its origins as a personal web publishing forum, this makes sense. Emerging uses promise opportunities in corporations and education. Further application will also be realized as existing uses (communication, learning, knowledge management, interactive journalism, etc.) are adopted by various industries - notably entertainment, health care, government.
Benefits of blogging are numerous (which explains its rapid growth!). An overriding benefit is the democratization of information. In classic models, knowledge flow was "stopped" and administered by news sources (paper, magazines, TV). Ideas in keeping with current zeitgeist or political agendas received top billing, while unpopular (though necessary for innovation and social transformation) ideas were ignored. Many of the benefits of blogging are listed above in "Uses for Blogging"...other benefits include:
Fostering the fringe - ideas are evaluated based on merit - not on source of origin.
Filtering - ideas with merit are filtered through various blogs. Significant thoughts or posts receive multiple-links and spread viral-like across the blogosphere .
Multiple perspectives - one-sided perspectives of newspapers are replaced by passionate debates exploring virtually every facet of an idea or concept .
Barrier elimination - society is about barriers - actual or unspoken. For example, I don't run in the same circle as Bill Gates - a socio-economic barrier (at the absolute minimum!). In society, this generally means that I do not have the benefit of Mr. Gates' wisdom...blogging, however changes that. Opportunities now exist to hear regular thoughts from people like Ray Ozzie , Mitch Kapor , and Larry Lesig .
Free flow - any idea can be expressed...and accessed by any one. The process of blogging separates good ideas from poor ideas. The process itself has built in quality control - try that in traditional media!
Real time - discussions and interactions happen right NOW. Waiting for tomorrow's newspaper or radio program seems like an eternity compared to real time blogging.
Links and connections - the complexity of an information heavy society requires specialization. Yet specialization is futile if a process is not created to link specialties. Blogging serves this purpose extremely well. Disparate fields of interest and thought are brought together (and dissected) in the machinations of bloggers.
Blogging is altering (or perhaps responding to?) many aspects of information/content creation and use. These changes are not without impact. What are some of the implications of a tool that functions at the same speed as the medium it serves?
Here's a few:
Content creation and consumption on the Internet has finally caught up with the Internet itself. Traditional suppliers of content (publishers, media, news organizations) will face substantial pressures to respond appropriately, or cease being relevant.
Decentralization of content and distribution. This is a trend well underway on the Internet as a whole. Napster capitalized on it...and blogging is the "canary in a mine" reacting to (and reflecting) it.
The user is in control. The end user (or audience) of a service or product has acquired a central (rather than previous fringe) role. Disagree with a blogger? Tell him/her via "comments links", and initiate a dialogue with not only the author, but other readers as well. Disagree with a newspaper columnist? Throw out the newspaper...
Conversation vs. lecture...I have a mind...I have an opinion. It counts. Just like yours.
The pipe is more important than the content. By various estimates, bloggers number between 750,000 and 1 million. The ecosystem of blogging is more important than the content being generated. The content has a life (i.e. new technology becomes obsolete)...but the process for content acquisition (blogging) stays continually fresh.
Shared meaning and understandings. Knowledge is acquired and shaped as a social process - resulting in spiraling: I say something, you comment on it, I evaluate it, comment and present a new perspective, you take it to the next level...and the process repeats until a concept has been thoroughly explored.
Ideas are presented as the starting point for dialogue, not the ending point.
History of Blogging - Interested
There is a very informative article on the history of blogging –
This was found in a blog…rebecca's pocket
weblogs: a history and perspective September – 2000
Read more about the culture, theory, and craft of weblogs: the weblog handbook , practical advice on creating and maintaining your blog , by rebecca blood perseus publishing, july 2002 ISBN: 073820756X
Weblog : Une histoire et des perspectives japanese korean persian
blog…rebecca's pocket weblogs: a history and perspective September – 2000
And what, really, will change if we get weblogs into every bookmark list? As we are increasingly bombarded with information from our computers, handhelds, in-store kiosks, and now our clothes, the need for reliable filters will become more pressing. As corporate interests exert tighter and tighter control over information and even art, critical evaluation is more essential than ever. As advertisements creep onto banana peels, attach themselves to paper cup sleeves, and interrupt our ATM transactions, we urgently need to cultivate forms of self-expression in order to counteract our self-defensive numbness and remember what it is to be human.
We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from "audience" to "public" and from "consumer" to "creator." Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.
Judith Dywer, 2000 ,The Business Communication Handbook, Fifth Edition, Prentice Hall, Melbourne.
Elizabeth Baker et al, 2002 , Working Communication, Wiley, Brisbane.
George Siemens, 2002, The Art of Blogging - Part 1, Overview, Definitions, Uses, and Implications http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/blogging_part_1.htm#whatis ,
Further information: including the following types of Blogs…. See this Wikipedia Website
Types of Blogs
Often, the word blog is used to describe an online diary or journal , such as LiveJournal . The weblog format of an online diary makes it possible for users without much experience to create, format, and post entries with ease. People write their day-to-day experiences, complaints, poems , prose , illicit thoughts and more, often allowing others to contribute, fulfilling to a certain extent Tim Berners-Lee 's original view of the World Wide Web as a collaborative medium. In 2001 , mainstream awareness of online diaries began to increase dramatically.
Online diaries are integrated into the daily lives of many teenagers and college students, with communications between friends playing out over their blogs. Even fights may be posted in the diaries, with not-so-veiled insults of each other easily readable by all their friends, enemies, and complete strangers.
Where a personal weblog is primarily concerned with daily life and events, and many topical weblogs focus on some technical topic, weblogs in the "thoughtful" category present an individual's (or a small group's) thoughts on whatever subject comes to hand; not necessarily the latest computer technology or the latest political scandal, but typically less contingent and more philosophical subjects. Thoughtful weblogs of course blur into personal weblogs on one side and topical or political ones on the other, but are distinct enough to constitute a category of their own.
A FriendBlog is a distributed networked journal on the web, composed of short, frequently updated posts written by friends connected through their similar interests. The author allows his FriendBlog to connect to other FriendBlogs, belonging to friends and acquaintances. This creates a "chain" of blogs. www.jointheweb.com is an example of a FriendBlog.
Topical blogs focus on a specific niche, often a technical one. An example is Google Blog ( http://www.google.com/googleblog/ ), covering nothing but Google news. Another example is a soldier blog . Many blogs now allow categories, which means a general blog can be reshuffled to become a topical blog at the user's need.
Types of Blogs
Increasingly, employees of corporations are posting official or semi-official blogs about their work. The employers however, do not always appreciate the endeavor. In January 2005 Joe Gordon was fired from Waterstone's bookshop in Edinburgh , Scotland , because he referred to his boss as an "asshole in sandals." In 2004 Ellen Simonetti, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant, was fired for posing in uniform on her blog. Perhaps the most famous case of all occurred when "Troutgirl" Joyce Park was fired ( http://troutgirl.com/blog/index.php?/archives/46_Shitcanned.html ) from Friendster because she discussed the rationale behind the website's technology conversion from J2EE to PHP on her blog.
Other employers have reacted differently. For instance, when Power Line bloggers were attacked by a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, one of the bloggers' employers came to his defense ( http://powerlineblog.com/archives/2005_01.php#009119 ).
With the rise in popularity of blogs in 2004 senior management caught on to the trend and by January 2005 several types of organizations, including universities, had started using blogs to communicate with their stakeholders. Many believe this corporate takeover of a tool that was used primarily by Internet enthusiasts will lead to a decrease in the popularity of the medium. Others believe that the use of blogs by organizations will add new voices and vitality to the medium. At any rate, there is little evidence that the growth rate of the blogosphere has slowed.
In 2005 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a guide to blog anonymously and safely ( http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Anonymity/blog-anonymously.php ) about work or anything else.
Many weblogs provide a news digest on a certain topic e.g. "Internet in China" ( http://china-netinvestor.blogspot.com/ ), "Baseball" ( http://baseballnews.blogspot.com/ ), or "Music" ( http://djmonstermo.blogspot.com/ ) with short abstracts/summaries and links to interesting articles in the press.
Collaborative (also collective or group)
Many weblogs are written by more than one person about a specific topic. Collaborative weblogs can be open to everyone or limited to a group of people. MetaFilter is an example of this type of weblog.
Slashdot , whose status as a blog has been debated, nevertheless has a team of editors who approve and post links to technology news stories throughout the day. Although Slashdot does not refer to itself as a weblog, it shares some characteristics with weblogs.
A new form of blog involves cooperation between bloggers and traditional media sources, allowing for topics discussed on the air to find legs on the Web, and vice-versa. The first and most prominent example of this form is Lone Star Times ( http://www.lonestartimes.com ), which is affiliated with Houston talk-radio station KSEV .
Types of Blogs
Another common kind of blog is a political blog. Often an individual will link to articles from news web sites and post their own comments as well. Many of these blogs comment on whatever interests the author. Some of them are more specialized. One subspecies is the watch blog, a blog which sets out to criticize what the author considers systematic errors or bias in an online newspaper or news site — or perhaps even by a more popular blogger.
Political blogs attracted attention because of their use by two political candidates in 2003: Howard Dean and Wesley Clark . Both gained political buzz on the Internet, and particularly among bloggers, before they were taken seriously by the establishment media as candidates. Joe Trippi , Dean's campaign manager, made the internet a particular focus of the campaign. Both candidates stumbled in the end, but were, at one time or another, thought of as front runners for the Democratic Nomination.
In 2004, the Democrats took political blogging a major step forward by creating Blog Swarm ( http://blogswarm.org ) to coordinate the hypertext links of progressive blogs. This allowed one blog to drive traffic by harnessing the power of a full blog array .
Many weblogs provide expert advice, such as Microsoft technical knowledge ( GaryDev ( http://blog.advisor.com/blog/garydev.nsf )) or fiction publishing for women ( Four Chicks and a Book ( http://www.codexwriters.com/4chicks/ )).
Blogs that discuss law and legal affairs are often referred to as blawgs.
Directory weblogs are useful for web-surfers because they often collect numerous web sites with interesting content in an easy to use and constantly updated format. News-related weblogs can fall into this category or the previous one (political blogs).
Types of Blogs
Some blogs discuss religious topics. Blogs like Rabbinical Authority Consortium of HACKers ( http://rachack.blogspot.com ) or Rabbi Gil Student ( http://hirhurim.blogspot.com )'s blog act as defenders of their religion and also as news sources and forums for debate. Religious blogs also show the public's points of view on various controversies both in religion and in politics, economics, and life in general.
Some weblogs specialise in particular forms of presentation, such as images (see web comics ), or videos (see videoblog ), or on a particular theme, and acronyms have been developed for some of these, such as moblogs (for "mobile" blog).
One of the types of blog that has undergone rapid expansion since the year 2000 is the MP3 blog , which make audio files available to the user. MP3 blogs are normally targeted at highly specialized musical genres , such as late 60s soul music or early 90s hip-hop or even the latest stuff in electronic dance music genres like grime . However, personal audioblogs are also on the rise (See also Podcasting ).
The increasing ubiquity of digital cameras and broadband connections has made it ever easier to post and share photos on the web. Bloggers have adapted their software to facilitate the publishing of photos, creating what is called a photoblog . Photo sharing sites like Buzznet ( http://www.buzznet.com ) and Flickr have integrated the typical photo gallery service with photo sharing, blogging and syndication to create a new kind of social software .
In January 2005 the first VloggerCon ( http://vloggercon.blogspot.com ) was held, catering for a new breed of bloggers, the video blogger. A vlog , or videoblog, is a blog where video is included in blog posts. This is also known as videoblogging.
H ow will yo u use your W e b log?
Creating a weblog as you can see is an exciting adventure into a new self-directed form of writing and publishing information.
How you organise and represent yourself is important. Just because the information is from a personal perspective does not mean that it should be sloppy or disorganised. Your Weblog could be a valuable tool to reflect who you are to the outside world..
Spend some time now looking at Blogs on the internet save any interesting ones, or get started with the content sheet as a means of producing some wonderful words. Images and links……
My Blogfather!…what shall I write about ….
Blogs are a powerful medium for communication…so how will you organise yours.. Here are some questions you may wish to ask yourself to begin the process:
What type of Blog do I want to create?
i.e. Personal, Hobby, Interest, Technical, etc
What topics will it cover?
What pictures will it include?
Do I want to put a picture of myself….or my dog, cat, budgie…etc
What links will I include?
Now get started, Tony said you had some technical problems last week with Blogger.com!