Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Writers' Blog: A Newbie's Primer on Blogging (Part 1)


This post's title is obviously a word play on an all-common excuse for ditching a writing assignment, that is a "writers' block". However, this particular text is primarily about blogging and not about making excuses not to.

Perhaps in a future post we will directly tackle how to overcome writer's block. Heaven knows that the vast multitude of bloggers (or blogists) on the World Wide Web have a need for a tip or two on that subject every once so often.

For now, let us ponder on the pros and cons of blogging. To borrow from a certain English bard's famous quote - to blog or not to blog? That is the question of this Web 2.0 era.

Blog Defined

A blog is a personal story, report, essay, commentary, article, or similar content that is contained in a website usually made available to the general Internet audience. Early blogs were mostly text documents posted on personal homepages. Nowadays blogs can also feature scanned photographs, audio clips and even recorded or live video feeds.

The word "blog" refers to the content, the act of publishing online such content, and the type of website that holds the content. Blog sites, as per its common form, should post the blog in chronological order only (meaning you cannot insert a blog entry between the order of existing posts). At the same time, any entry must be readily accessible through a history or archive list.

The origin of the term blog stems from "weblog", which according to Wikipedia (see Wikipedia entry on "Blog") was coined by Jorn Barger circa 1997. Subsequently, the concatenation "blog" came from the paronomasia "We Blog" attributed to Peter Merholz as published at his own site Peterme.com. Sadly, this bit of blogging history no longer exists at Mr. Merholz's current blog site.

To simplify, a blog is:
- a personal account, narrative or opinion;
- may be in the form of text, images, and/or audio-video materials;
- published chronologically on the Web usually via blog websites;

That said, should we exclude sites that do not follow the above description from the category of blogs? I would not be that strict. After all, the form and function of the blog have evolved as quickly as available web technology has developed in the past years.

Take for instance blogs that exists only on community or corporate Intranets. They serve the function of the modern blog within the limited scope of their domain however; these are not accessible to the rest of the World Wide Web. Another exception would be mobile blogs (also called "moblogs") which are published and accessible primarily through mobile devices.

Who knows in what form would the modern blog transform to in the future? Can you say holoblog?
(This is the first part of a series. Part 2 of "Writer's Blog: A Newbie's Primer on Blogging" follows next.)

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