This profile discusses blogs (sometimes referred to as
web logs or bloggs and published by bloggers).
It covers -
statistics and demographics
- how many blogs have been created, how many are maintained,
who is writing them, who is reading them
- a typology of blogs
- software and primers for would-be bloggers
- the 'blogosphere' and notions of the blogger community
& politics - blogging as the 'new journalism', as
an engine of politics and as "necessarily democratic"
- identification of blogs, accessibility, archiving
and 'comment spam'
- defamation, censorship and other challenges
for dollars - can you
make a living as a blogger?
blogging - blogs within organisations and for customers
- 'knowledge blogs' and 'OM'
genres - academic,
legal, scientific, library, kids and other blogs
- political blogging by candidates and advocacy groups
- an assessment of hype about 'lifeblogging' (aka "a
black box data recorder for the human body"), glogging,
camblogs, vlogs and moblogs
- comments on how blogging has been colonised by academia
digerati - weblogs
and the public intellectual
bridges and bushfires - disagreement about whether
businesses should engage with bloggers and the blogosphere
- the business of running blog networks
- the spam version of blogging
- blogging-lite, the latest blogosphere fad?
- blog-related dismissals of employees
- offline diaries as points of reference
- brief explanations of blog jargon
supports the Electronic Publishing guide
elsewhere on this site.
Blogs are an illustration of claims that on the web every
man (or dog)
can be his own publisher ... and the corollary that being
able to publish does not mean being able to write well
or be readily found by readers at large.
Some have hailed blogging as a tool for deconstruction
of the 'global information hegemony', a means for personal
liberation or the best thing since Gutenberg and the emergence
of 'knowledge management'.
US polemicist Hugh Hewitt's Blog: Understanding the
Information Reformation That's Changing Your World
(Nashville: Nelson 2004) bizarrely acclaimed them as important
as the printing press, another echo of Gilmore's whacky
claim that the net was "the most transforming technological
event since the capture of fire".
Jeffrey Henning of online survey group Perseus Development
characterised them as "a social phenomenon: persistent
messaging for young adults". Meredith Badger hailed
the conjunctions of the Internet: the ands, the buts,
the ors – they add to online conversations, refute
them, or provide new perspectives altogether
as "the homepage[s] that we wear".
Clifford Nass, co-author of The Media Equation: How
People Treat Computers, Television & New Media Like Real
People & Places (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1996)
tartly suggested that bloggers publish the personal details
of their lives simply because they want to think people
are interested in them.
George Packer sniffed
constellation of opinion called the blogosphere consists,
like the stars themselves, partly of gases. This is
what makes blogs addictive — that is, both pleasurable
and destructive: They're so easy to consume, and so
endlessly available. Their second-by-second proliferation
means that far more is written than needs to be said
about any one thing. … Read them enough and any
subject will go dead.
what is a blog?
Definitions of the blog, credit for the 'blog revolution'
and identification of prototypes have provoked some of
the silliest online disagreements (many of which have,
of course, been conducted through blogs).
High profile US programmer and blog-service promoter Dave
that a blog
a personal Website. A Weblog allows you to easily publish
a wide variety of content to the Web. You can publish
written essays, annotated links, documents (Word, PDF
and PowerPoint files), graphics, and multimedia.
sites that point to articles elsewhere on the web, often
with comments, and to on-site articles. A weblog is
kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you
get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each
develops an audience, and there's also comraderie and
politics between the people who run weblogs, they point
to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops,
that the distinguishing feature is
editorship - the content of the site is under the responsibility
of a single person ... and to some extent reflects this
with a chronological structure, free access and archived
Rebecca Mead's 2000 New Yorker article
You've Got Blog (How to put your business, your boyfriend,
and your life on-line) characterised blogging as
the CB radio of the Dave Eggers generation. And that
is how, when Meg Hourihan followed up her French-boyfriend-depression
posting with a stream-of-consciousness blog entry a
few weeks later saying that she had developed a crush
on someone but was afraid to act on it - "Maybe I've
become very good at eluding love but that's not a complaint
I just want to get it all out of my head and put it
somewhere else", she wrote - her love life became not
just her business but the business of bloggers everywhere.
readers might respond 'get a life'; others would point
by media theorist Theorist Jim Cross (discussed here)
webcam in your own home is a voluntary rendering public
of what would normally be private, a throwing open of
your house to an indeterminately large and anonymous
public ... this needs to be seen in a communal context:
this is not a case of one person throwing their world
open for public inspection but, rather, joining the
ranks of people who are making a relatively high profile
appearance on the Web. How far this makes them a member
of a Web 'community' hinges to a large extent on what
is understood by that term. But I suspect the idea of
'sharing' is important in understanding what is going
that a blog is a "microportal"
... a small web site, usually maintained by one person
that is updated on a regular basis and has a high concentration
of repeat visitors. Weblogs often are highly focused
around a singular subject, an underlying theme or unifying
ezine and blog-host Salon claimed
blog, or weblog, is a personal Web site updated frequently
with links, commentary and anything else you like. New
items go on top and older items flow down the page.
Blogs can be political journals and/or personal diaries;
they can focus on one narrow subject or range across
a universe of topics. The blog form is unique to the
Web - and highly addictive.
Rosenberg's 1999 view
was that blogs
are personal Web sites operated by individuals who compile
chronological lists of links to stuff that interests
them, interspersed with information, editorializing
and personal asides. A good weblog is updated often,
in a kind of real-time improvisation, with pointers
to interesting events, pages, stories and happenings
elsewhere on the Web. New stuff piles on top of the
page; older stuff sinks to the bottom.
Katz more grandiloquently says
described by one of their creators as the "pirate radio
stations" of the Web, are a new, personal, and determinedly
non-hostile evolution of the electric community. They
are also the freshest example of how people use the
Net to make their own, radically different new media.
caught Katz's utopian spin with a claim
that, in response to commercialisation of the web, blogs
back technology that promises to stir the sleeping giant.
Soon, the soul of the Internet will sprout up through
the cracks and ripen under the gaze of eager netizens,
all in the form of a "blog."
vagueness of the descriptions reflects the evolution of
the genre, which arguably started during the early 1990s
as 'filter' pages developed by HTML aficionados and came
to embraced personal journals at the end of the decade
when new software/services allowed authors to dispense
with a knowledge of code.
has argued - in our view convincingly - that the essential
criteria are that the site consists of dated entries,
doesn't necessarily appear on a regular basis and has
a personal flavour, differentiating it from online abstracting
services such as Arts & Letters Daily and the
Washington Post Newsbytes service (both alas defunct)
There is a broad, relentlessly upbeat introduction in
We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture
(New York: Perseus 2002) edited by Rebecca Blood. We
Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs (New York: Wiley
2002) edited by Paul Bausch, Matthew Haughey & Meg
Hourihan suggests that blogging is about 'community' -
format provides a framework for our universal blog experiences,
enabling the social interactions we associate with blogging.
Without it, there is no differentiation between the
myriad content produced for the Web
from the constraints of the printed page (or any concept
of "page"), an author can now blog a short thought that
previously would have gone unwritten. The weblog's post
unit liberates the writer from word count.
Thoughts: Personal Publication As An Online Research
by Torrill Mortensen & Jill Walker acclaims blogging
as an aid for postgrads, applause echoed by Sébastien
Personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research.
Graham Leuschke's blog features
a short and refreshingly irreverent list of what blogs
are not: stages, telephones, colour
pages, salt, Icelandic signal fires, art or pirate
they really are like porches ... - you can sit and rock
by yourself all day, or every once in a while the whole
family will pile in with those jugs with "XXX" on them
and twangy old guitars and kids running around underfoot
and cats scared out of their fur and dogs baying in
the yard and the joy that rises up in your heart like
the bread in the oven. Or maybe they're just things
we do while we wait for something else to happen.
The history of blogging is now being commoditised by academia,
with claims, counter-claims and footnotes (complete with
genuflections to St Jacques Derrida or Baudrillard) about
innovation and influence.
As we have suggested above, some figures claim that blogs
date from 1993 or 1994; others that they only appeared
in 1999. Winer for example claims that
first weblog was Tim Berners-Lee's "What's New?" page
at http://info.cern.ch/, which pointed to new Web sites
as they came online. The second weblog was Marc Andreessen's
"What's New?" page at the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (archived here),
which performed a similar function until mid-1996
the term being coined by Jorn Barger
in his Robot Wisdom blog.
They didn't take off or gain media coverage (which drove
growth) until 1999, with the advent of free and user-friendly
blogging services such as Blogger, Livejournal and Pitas.
The mix of publicity, services and emulation of peer groups
supposedly saw the number of blogs increase from around
a thousand in mid-2000 to upwards of 500,000 in mid-2002,
according to Paquet.
The past year has seen the emergence of a range of 'premium'
services such as Inknoise.com ("personal web publishing
for fanatics", apparently people who work in the
'creative industries' and read Abraham Maslow), which
original blogs were all text, all the time. InkNoise
moves boldly beyond text to give people who want to
express themselves with video, images, and sounds access
to the powerful publishing structure of the chronological
These new media types deserve more varied and more highly
stylized surroundings, which are provided by InkNoise
weblog and gallery templates.
have explored how blogging has been received by the media
and academia here.
next page (blog
statistics and demographics)