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A Blog is a type of digital media published on the World Wide Web that is composed of entries meant to inform or converse with the audience. Blogs can be written by a single individual or by a group of people and tend to focus on a single subject. Blog entries (or posts) vary in size and can contain several hundred words or as few as a couple hundred characters. A person who edits a blog site is referred to as a blogger.

Ignacio Siles, of Northwestern University, says "blogs represent a means for presenting introspective thinking, a record of daily events, a tool for political mobilization, a journalistic project, an open-ended literary experiment, a constant exhibition of images and videos and, in many cases, a combination of all the above."[1] Blogs give bloggers the ability to deliver content in various forms that can be tailored to best reach the target audience.


[edit] Early History

Blogs were originally called weblogs, a term invented by John Barger in 1997, until Peter Merholz announced that he planned to pronounce the word as "wee-blog" in 1999, which was then shortened to "blog." The use of blogs started off as limited due to the fact that knowledge of HTML coding was required but this changed in 1999 when Pitas, a build-your-own-weblog tool, was launched.[2] Another breakthrough for blogs was the release of software meant to automate weblog posting in late 1999, with the most notable being Blogger.[3] The software helped pioneer bloggers, such as Steven Bogart and Dan Lyke, expand the content in blogs in the late 1990s from mostly about technology and the Internet to mostly about personal thoughts.[4] The early 2000s saw blogs gain a firm place in society as the blogging software opened up the practice to the average person and also as bloggers gained respect for their ability to uncover the truth.[5]

[edit] Types

Blogs can be separated into different types based on subject matter, size, and media used to create the blog post. Examples of other popular blog types not mentioned below include travel blogs, fashion blogs, school blogs, and sports blogs.[6]

Personal blogs

Personal blogs function as online diaries that discuss issues or events relevant to the blogger's life.


Microblogging is a form of blogging that consists of posts that have restrictions on length or the amount of space each post can take up.[7] The limited space allotted for the posts has brought about the use of internet slang such as "TTYL," which stands for "talk to you later," and the shortening of words like using the letter "u" in place of the word "you." Part of the growing popularity of microblogging is that it offers a method of communication which gives the blog a more naturalistic feel that appeals to both bloggers and the audience.[8] Some examples of microblogging are Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Collaborative blogs

Collaborative blogs consist of posts from multiple bloggers that focus on a single theme or topic.

Corporate blogs

Corporate blogs are used by businesses for internal or external purposes. Internal uses include organizing project teams and increasing communication between employers and employees. External uses can include public relations and advertising.

Political blogs

Political blogs can be used by a wide range of people from activists to politicians and discuss topics involving politics. These topics can vary from discussing a change in policy to bringing attention to a scandal involving a politician.

[edit] Impact

[edit] Social

One of the most popular gossip blogs currently on the internet is PerezHilton. Blogger Mario Lavandeira makes frequent posts to the gossip blog about various celebrities. Lavandeira is known for his rude comments regarding celebrities but his influence is undeniable. The gossip blog has a large social impact as it both hurts and improves how society sees celebrities.[9] The social influence of blogs is vast and can be seen in how people turn to travel blogs for information regarding possible travel destinations and how people are constantly reading or updating social media blogs.[10]

[edit] Political

Tweet that brought about Emily Thornberry's resignation
Tweet that brought about Emily Thornberry's resignation

A tweet (Twitter's form of blog posts) posted by UK senior Labour MP Emily Thornberry in November of 2014 showed the world just how powerful microblogging has become in politics. Thornberry's tweet was made during the Rochester and Strood by-election and depicts a home in Rochester, England draped in St. George's flags (the official flag of England). Thornberry's tweet was criticized by rivals and fellow party members alike. Rochdale Labour MP, Simon Danczuk, commented that the tweet seemed "derogatory and dismissive of the people." The popularity of Twitter helped word of Thornberry's tweet spread quickly so that Thornberry chose to resign later on the very day she posted the tweet.[11]

The power of blogging can also be seen in the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Blogger Joshua Marshall of Talking Points Memo who continued to investigate Gonzales' reasoning for firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006[12] despite criticism from Mainstream media figures that he was imagining conspiracy. The information Marshall uncovered and posted on his blog resulted in Gonzales' resignation in 2007.[13] The cases involving Thornberry and Gonzales are only two of many instances of blogs having an impact in politics and show the rising power of blogs.

[edit] Educational

Teachers are starting to integrate blogs into the classroom along with other technologies as a tool to improve student learning. At the crowd-sourcing initiative By Educators, For Educators educators shared methods of integrating blogs into course curricula. The ideas involved using blogs as a way to encourage kids to think about what they are learning in class and propose questions about the material. Other ideas focused on using blogs to encourage students to read books and engage in discussions about the books through their blog posts. The blogs help increase interest and understanding in the material while also building writing skills.[14]

[edit] External Links

[edit] References

  1. Siles, Ignacio (2011). "From online filter to web format: Articulating materiality and meaning in the early history of blogs"
  2. Blood, Rebecca (September 7, 2000). "Weblogs: A History and Perspective"
  3. Blood, Rebecca (December 1, 2004). "How Blogging Software Reshapes the Online Community"
  4. Siles, Ignacio (2011). "From online filter to web format: Articulating materiality and meaning in the early history of blogs"
  5. Blood, Rebecca (December 1, 2004). "How Blogging Software Reshapes the Online Community"
  6. "Types of Blogs"
  7. "Microblogging"
  8. "7 Things You Should Know About Microblogging" 2009-07-07.
  9. "The World's 50 Most Powerful Blogs" 2008-03-09.
  10. Ristova, Maja (January 1, 2014). "The Advantage of Social Media"
  11. Mason, Rowena (November 20, 2014). "Emily Thornberry Resigns from Shadow Cabinet over Rochester Tweet"
  12. Eggen, Dan, and Michael A. Fletcher (August 28, 2007). "Embattled Gonzales Resigns" The Washington Post.
  13. "The World's 50 Most Powerful Blogs" 2008-03-09.
  14. "On Classroom Blogs" Reading Teacher. 2014-04-01.
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