So, what is a blog?

So after a week of research, reading articles, reading classmates’ posts, and looking at several blogs themselves (some I already read, and some I just started following a few days ago), I think I was looking at trying to find an answer the wrong way. I started out being so formal about the whole thing. I wanted to find ONE definition/answer of what a blog is and have all by questions to be able to be checked off and answered. How long do post need to be? How many pictures do you need? What is considered content of blogs? I realized that blogs are an ever-evolving thing and the minute you try to put blogs into a closed box/category, something changes so it bounces right out.

From Jill Rettberg, I learned that there can be categories of blogs: “filter, diary, and topic-driven blogging”. For me, I liked that you can organize what a blog is by its content, but it still wasn’t a definitive answer for what a blog IS.

To Travel the Great Beyond found a very interesting source by Jeff Jarvis that said “blogs are whatever they want to be”. There aren’t limits and boundaries to what can be considered a blog. The only limits created are created by you, which doesn’t mean those same rules apply to others.

I touched on this in my original post about blogging that blogs are their own entity. They can be whatever I want for my own purpose. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” rings true for blogs. What I consider to be “blog content” might look different to someone else. Perspective is huge in this matter.

While trying to answer the question “what is a blog?”, I took a new angle on my search which was “why do people blog?”

Madelyn Haasken found a good article summarizing why people blog. It shows the positives of blogging and could incentivize more people to become bloggers.

Rebecca Blood said,”I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from ‘audience’ to ‘public’ and from ‘consumer’ to ‘creator’.” She saw blogging as a way for people to go from passively watching/reading to being able to participate.

From everything I read, common trends I noticed about blogs and bloggers were people want to feel connected/included, and people wanted to feel important. As humans, I think we all crave that feeling of being wanted and heard. People blog because they want to understand the world and they want to be understood. It’s a way for people to connect even if other barriers stand in the way (distance, language, etc.). Blogs are a personal platform where your thoughts can be turned into information for mass consumption. It can be a no pressure/judgment place to share anything you deem important to share.

 

Advertisements

More Info on Blogging

While doing some research about blogs and what bloggers do, I kept thinking about Blood’s article warning about what you read and write in blogs saying, “Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.” I couldn’t stop thinking about that statement. As a teacher, I always talk about not taking everything you hear, read, or see as fact. It reminded me of the State farm commercial poking fun of people who read something on the Internet and accept it as the truth. This was an exaggeration of course, but it happens all the time. We read one article and the comments on it and most times see only one side. That does not mean that’s the only side. I’m thinking with blogging, where ANYONE can post about ANYTHING, we need to be both critical readers and writers. I think we need to be aware of personal bias.

I was also wondering about monetizing blogs, a way to get paid for your blog. While reading  7 Ways to monetize your blog, it made me think of how bloggers could make money. They can have ads, but other ways to generate money is by talking about their sponsors and/or products. I have been reading a few blogs for a few years and when they talk about a product, I always wonder “Do you actually like/use that product, or do you just need to plug it in to get paid?” While reading blogs, I’m now checking for ads or signs that the blogger is making money and what their sponsors are.

This led me further into looking up The Dangers of Blogging and there is a lot to keep in mind (some scarier than others). A few things I will be looking further into:

  1. Everything you post to the public can be seen, even if you delete it.
  2. When sharing your thoughts and opinions might not be the best idea.
  • We read about how Dooce’s blog posts got her fired from her job
  • Chris Moody was sued for sharing an article

(Again, these are told in the author’s point of view. Are we reading/knowing the whole story?)

  1. Know your rights. There are legal guides for bloggers to help with this. Do your homework to protect yourself.