Separate The Content
If you separate the content from the website, it becomes much easier to work with the definitions.
Consider a person that wants to publish a Questions & Answers column online. She could use several types of websites for that purpose.
She could create an online Forum, for example, where each thread would be an answer to a specific question. She could create a static HTML website and publish all the questions and answers on a single page. She could create a wiki where users would be able to edit the questions and answers directly. Finally, she could also create a blog where each post would contain a question and its answer.
As you can see, the content is not attached to the website.
Obviously one type of website will be more suitable for a certain purpose than others. It would be easier for a company to use an online forum on its customer support section.
So What Is A Blog?
A blog is basically a type of website, like a Forum or a social bookmarking site. As such it is defined by the technical aspects and features around it, and not by the content published inside it.
The features that make blogs different from other websites:
* content is published in a chronological fashion
* do not make a Blog as another third party marketing instrument of the product you are selling, that's a waste of time for both
* content is updated regularly
* readers have the possibility to leave comments
* other blog authors can interact via trackbacks and pingbacks
* other opinions, third party products and 'inventions, tips and tricks' of users come to live here
* in a Forum or website there is no 'room' for such third party products, in a Blog it is possible as overal knowledge.
* content is syndicated via RSS feeds
Keep in mind that it is the bundle of those features that should define a Blog. An online forum could also offer an RSS feed for example, but that would not make it a Blog.
Excellent example of a Blog = 3D SketchUp Pro software
What Is Your Blog Definition?
As I mentioned on the beginning of this article, Blogs represent a social phenomenon, so they are in constant evolution. The Internet itself is changing very fast, so pin pointing a single definition for blogging is a hard task.
The definition above is my personal one, and I am sure that other people will want to add or remove details to it. Some might even completely disagree.
That is why I decided to turn the mic to the readers. I want to hear what you think a Blog is. What characteristics define it? Is the definition changing over time?
I am looking forward to reading your definitions of blogs! Email