(1) To write a blog entry. Blogs (definition #2 below) became so popular that the noun was turned into a verb; for example, "I'll blog about that subject next month."|
(2) (WeBLOG) A Web site that contains dated text entries in reverse chronological order about a topic (most recent entry first). Blogs serve many purposes from personal journals to online newsletters to "ranting and raving." Written by one person or a group of contributors, entries contain commentary, observations and opinions and may include images, audio, video, links to other sites and even a search facility for finding earlier entries. See audioblog and vlog.
Blogs may invite comments and feedback similar to the Internet newsgroup discussions that started long before the Web came about (see newsgroup). For bloggers who want to develop a relationship with readers, user feedback is essential. Blogs often support RSS syndication, which automatically notifies users when new blog entries are posted (see syndication feed).
More Personal, But Corporate Too
The blog is often a passionate expression of one individual's thoughts, and blogs are expected to be totally truthful. Although increasingly included, ads have traditionally not been on blogs. Informality and off-the-cuff opinion are what set blogs apart from Web sites, e-zines and other electronic publishing formats (see e-zine).
Companies also encourage employees to write internal blogs to share knowledge, and they use public blogs to keep abreast of customer satisfaction and other issues. Customers often have great faith in employee bloggers. For example, a CEO who writes a blog may greatly enhance the company image as long as there is no extreme bias or obvious marketing.
Blog Software and Services
The first blogs in the late 1990s were extra features on a Web site and manually coded in HTML. However, when applications such as Pitas, Blogger and GrokSoup were launched in 1999, blogs took off. This template-based software made it a snap to publish a blog on the company's Web server and add entries without knowing any HTML. Soon after, blog hosting services came along that offered the same functionality on their own servers, allowing anyone to set up a free blog on the Web in minutes. A blog service is the simplest way for anyone to publish comments on the Internet.
From Blog to Microblog to Twitter
The blog spawned the "microblog," a short blog about one's daily adventures, which evolved into the wildly successful Twitter.
After 9/11, blogs were used to convey information, thoughts and feelings faster than ever. On controversial issues, blogs can quickly reach people worldwide. The "blogosphere" (blog universe) has become such a forum for public expression that it is routinely searched for reactions and opinions about everything.
By 2007, there were more than 100 million blogs on the Web offering a mind-numbing amount of comments about everything. To help wade through, sites such as Technorati (www.technorati.com) and Google Blog Search (http://blogsearch.google.com) were created. See blog network, live blogging, anonymous blog, blog ping, spider, splog, blogroll, blogvertising, blognosing, blogorrhea, blogger, War blog and dooced.
From "The Best of The Joy of Tech" cartoon book by Nitrozac and Snaggy (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-596-00578-4). (Image courtesy of GeekCulture, www.geekculture.com)