What Makes A Blog A Blog?

A weblog is basically defined as a log on the internet. What this log contains constantly evolves based on the creator’s interests, which naturally evolve over time. There are many different kinds of weblogs–you have personal diary weblogs, you have topic-based weblogs, and filter-style blogs. From those categories, you have blogs spanning many topics and even no topics at all.

Armstrong’s posts don’t document every aspect of her life as a private diary might. Instead, they present slices of her life, episodes and anecdotes that give readers a strong feeling of knowing the blogger, but that also keep many secrets. This is the aspect of blogging that Viviane Serfaty refers to as the veil of the screen (Serfaty 2004:13-14). She argues that online diarists and bloggers use their writing as a mirror that allows them to see themselves more clearly and to construct themselves as subjects in a digital society, but also as a veil that will always conceal much of their lives from their readers.

-Rettburg’s What is a Blog? page 17


I personally see blogs as more of a medium than a genre. Many blogs have genres (personal diary, filter, or topic-driven blogs) and even sub-genres within them (craft, knitting, news, etc.). You could write about those things on paper or other kinds of mediums…but you didn’t.

Just as an artist chooses to use oil paints rather than watercolour or a director chooses to work with cinema rather than television or theatre, a blogger has chosen to work within the set of constraints and affordances offered by blogging software.

-Rettburg’s What is a Blog? page 29

Rebecca Blood talks about the history of weblogging and the various forms it has taken since it first popped up on the internet. Most originally were news and link-based with running commentary on whatever article the blogger had chance upon that particular day or moment, depending on how often they posted. This evolving format was used to allow the public to participate and comment on posts rather than just passively reading and moving on without making their presence and voice heard.

But the influx of blogs has changed the definition of weblog from “a list of links with commentary and personal asides” to “a website that is updated frequently, with new material posted at the top of the page.” I really wish there were another term to describe the filter-style weblog, one that would easily distinguish it from the blog. On the principle of truth in advertising, this would make it much easier for the adventuresome reader to find the type of weblog he most enjoys.

A blog, at first, can be just a fun thing to do but it can be used as a tool to help you learn more about yourself. Not only will your readers learn about you but you may notice where your attention focuses more, what interests you, and so on. This can be helpful to discovering what you may want to do in the future and help you introspect about yourself better.

It can also be a way to help you become more confident in yourself, your views, your voice, and your stance in issues that you feel are important. It can boost the strength you put behind your opinions, help expand your ideas, and overall make you a better person. This effect can also be extended to readers who share your views and may feel empowered by your posts to be more confident in themselves and their views. It’s all in how you choose to put your blog to use and in what manner you choose to post.

As he enunciates his opinions daily, this new awareness of his inner life may develop into a trust in his own perspective. His own reactions–to a poem, to other people, and, yes, to the media–will carry more weight with him. Accustomed to expressing his thoughts on his website, he will be able to more fully articulate his opinions to himself and others. He will become impatient with waiting to see what others think before he decides, and will begin to act in accordance with his inner voice instead. Ideally, he will become less reflexive and more reflective, and find his own opinions and ideas worthy of serious consideration.

I also chose to read Steve Himmer‘s article The Labyrinth Unbound. He made a connection between typical literary works and cybertext literary works. There are many ways to get a hold of, say, a book or newspaper. For cybertext, such as a weblog, you require a link in order to get to the site where the work has been published. This link can come from anywhere the possesses it currently.

Unlike physical literary works, most weblogs are never truly completed. Communication between the reader and writer remains intact. It allows for collaboration between writers that would be impossible between authors of books due to how long it takes to get published.

without the hurdle of editors, publishers, and corporations between writers and “publication” in some form or another, weblog authors are able to write exactly what they want to, in exactly the way they prefer. In offering these observations toward classification, I hope not to constrain or limit the possibilities of the weblog as a mode or form. To the contrary, by developing definitions somewhat divorced from tools and structures, the weblog may be allowed to develop in ways otherwise impossible while maintaining some element of cohesion and unity—just as there is wide variation in what qualifies as a “novel,” there should be equal latitude allowed the weblog; authors should not have to concern themselves with the hurdle of whether they are or aren’t truly blogging.

Overall, blogs are many things. They are frequently updated with new content, sometimes daily. They provide links to sources beyond their origin point, allowing the blogger to open the world up more to their readers. They can evoke emotional responses and form connections between bloggers and readers based on similar events or viewpoints. They are continuous evolving as the blogger discovers more about themselves and grows up. They stand out as a unique testament to their blogger and their beliefs in what their blog represents.

I believe a blog to be a medium that is used to help the blogger and their readers learn and grow through the experience of blogging. Whatever the blog may be, it will serve as self-reflecting toward the blogger in a manner that will hopefully give them insight into their likes, dislikes, and possibly what their future could become. It gives the blogger the freedom to put themselves out there, let the world know they are there, and express themselves in a way they see fit to do so, for better or for worse.


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