Tuesday 30 September 2008

What is a blog and blogging and posting and...?

A collection of tweets on a topic started by Paul Bradshaw from the Online Journalism Blog.

It's not exactly a new set of issues but definitely worth revisiting every now and then.

It's all too easy to think you know what something is and then realise that in reality it's far more complicated than that and changing all the time.

(I'm not sure Twitter really works too well for these debates. But anyway. The italics are comments I've added later and really just me throwing some stuff out there.)

Taken from Twitter 30/9/08

1000 Things #111: Most 'blogging' is not done on blogs, but on forums, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

ourman @paulbradshaw - Surely you can only blog on a blog. That's like saying most walking is done on a bicycle.

But then most writing is not done on a 'write'.

@paulbradshaw Interesting. I'm not tackling forums as 'blogging' to limit the size of my project. I think there are some key differences.

paulbradshaw @ourman et al well Twitter and Facebook is microblogging; MySpace is just an in-profile blog

@Dan_10v11 I'm saying that some people - my mother, for instance - use forums as a place to blog.

I'd be interested to hear how she uses it 'as a blog', rather than as a forum.

The point - isn't there a difference between a 'blog', 'blogging' and 'blogger'?

@paulbradshaw - surely she uses forums as a place to write. You can't blog on a forum any more than you can blog in a text book.

Obviously you can't blog away from the World Wide Web - the interactive nature of blogging doesn't work on paper. I think there is still validity in Paul Bradshaw questioning where else on the World Wide Web you can blog and if this does make sense.

Dan_10v11 @paulbradshaw E.g. A blog is not a forum, you can blog on a forum, a blogger can post on a forum. But r u a blogger if you post on a forum?

'you can blog on a forum' - my instinct actually is that you 'post' on a forum. This comes in later.

@ourman surely you can blog anywhere that allows people to respond? And is it platform or genre?

I suppose the first part of this represents a more cultural definition of blogging. I think it's a difficult route to go down.

@paulbradshaw @Dan_10v11 And there are even at least 3 different meanings for "blog" - technology, website, mindset

Mindset?! I wonder if I have a blog mindset...

Dan_10v11 @ourman @paulbradshaw But can you blog on a website? Or do you have to have a 'blog' bit of the website?

ourman @paulbradshaw - surely you can only blog on a blog. You twitter on Twitter. You SMS with SMS. @tomVS web2.0 is the genre

A more functional definition of blogging?

@paulbradshaw - you can't be a blogger unless you have a blog you contribute to. And blogging is the act of contributing (to a blog)

@Dan_10v11 I think what people are doing is "posting". You can "post" to any number of online sites but you can only blog on a blog.

Dan_10v11 @paulbradshaw @ourman I think you can make a case for either of your ways of looking at 'blogging'.

Dan_10v11 @ourman I think @paulbradshaw would argue that by posting on a forum his mum has effectively established a blog. But he can defend himself!

Dan_10v11 @ourman I agree - the addition of 'posting' to the debate helps. At base I think we're trying to work out what a blog is.

@ourman Agreed. The confusion between "post/blog" and "posting/blogging" is an endless source of miscommunication here.

ourman @adders blogging is too important to be lumped in with facebook and the like. It devalues it - weakens it.

I can see what ourman is getting at and generally agree. But I import my blog posts into Facebook. Does this mean I blog there too? Or not? Maybe that doesn't count. I just import the posts. But if people read it from there, are they not reading my blog on Facebook.

ourman @adders - I'd argue that just regurgitating links (without comment) isn't blogging either. But I'm guessing that's my own personal bugbear.

adders @ourman That's a tricky one, because that's how weblogging started. But I'd agree that blogging has moved beyond that.

paulbradshaw @ourman agreed you can't be blogger without a blog, but i think the act of blogging is broader

paulbradshaw What is 'blogging'?

adders @paulbradshaw The process of participating in the upkeep of a weblog.

paulbradshaw Or, what are the generic qualities of blogging? Personal? Open? Would love your thoughts

I still think there's value in going with the 'blog as a publishing tool' approach, advocated by Kevin Anderson and Chris Vallance.

Ends. For the moment, at least.

Here are a few blogs that challenge some of the definitional boundaries:

1. The Ministry of Defence call this a blog, but there's no space to respond. Is it still a blog?

2. Rachel North 'blogging' on the BBC after 7/7? She also posted the same content on her own blog.

3. Post Secret is an award winning blog. But feels more like community art to me.

4. World War One blog. Publishing historical documents or blogging? Or both?
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