[Originally posted Nov. 11, 2004]
I get asked this question all the time … whenever I tell someone I am blogging on the internet. The word itself does not sound very high tech. It conjures up images of somebody ponderously plodding along a very dull, meaningless journey. Hopefully, that does not represent my contributions to the internet community! Basically, it is an online journal of articles and musings and personal opinions and commentary that might be of interest to others.
But I guess the first answer that comes to mind is that it is not a private diary . . . but it is a public diary. Webster’s defines a “diary” as “a daily written record, especially of the writer’s own experiences, thoughts, etc.” I remember when my three sisters and I stumbled on my Dad’s diary … written when he was about 8-10. With great anticipation we opened it up . . . only to find out that his creativity was limited to recording the same empty phrase over and over again: “I went to school and played” – not very revealing! A blog is designed for public perusal. It helps to learn that the term “blog” is a contraction for “web log” … in other words an online journal of sorts.
WhatIs.com offers this definition:
“On the Internet, a blog (short for weblog) is a personal journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or reflect the purpose of the Web site that hosts the blog. Topics sometimes include brief philosophical musings, commentary on Internet and other social issues, and links to other sites the author favors. The essential characteristics of the blog are its journal form, typically a new entry each day, and its informal style.”
Help.blogger.com expands on some of the same ideas:
“A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically – like a what’s new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly – from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to diaries, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, even fiction. Blog posts are like instant messages to the web. Many blogs are personal, “what’s on my mind” type musings. Others are collaborative efforts based on a specific topic or area of mutual interest. Some blogs are for play. Some are for work. Some are both.”
Many more similar definitions can be found at the Google site:
“A blog offers the possibility of reader feedback and comments. In this way a sense of community can be created around groups that have similar interests or want to debate a particular topic.”
People have all different motivations for blogging. There are many directories of blogs which allow you to search by topics of interest.
[Blogging by now (2020) has lost its charm. Most bloggers have moved on to other pursuits or other forms of communication. I am sticking with it!]