Blogs

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Blogs are a quintessential web 2.0 tool
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Contents

Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 24 Feb 2016

Introduction

See also Blogs - affordances‎ | Blogging and the law | Digital liaison | Ethics and the health librarian | LibGuides from Springshare | Really Simple Syndication (RSS) | Social media aggregators | Twitter | Web 2.0

Blogs and blogging, which some social media watchers suggest are declining in popularity represent an important part of the social web. That said, due to faster modes of communication such as Twitter and Facebook, blogs are in a liminal phase of development and usage in society and in academia in particular. Blogs are a form of instant publishing using a straightforward platform (or website) where new entries can be created n minutes. Generally the use of blogs and use of the word "blogging" have been appropriated by publishers as well as leading thinkers in politics, business and news to draw readers. Blogs have been central to the rise of Web 2.0 and constitute a lot of social interaction on the web, though this seems to be in decline. According to Blogger: "...a blog is a web site where you write entries on an ongoing basis, sometimes daily. Blogs are published by individuals and their style is personal and informal." Blogs provide venues for debate and reflection, and conversation of various kinds. Many of the most popular bloggers started to blog in 2004 and 2005. (See Google blogsearch) Some readers say they enjoy hearing directly from experts in an informal way, which may account, in part, for the huge surge in popularity of blogs. Librarians and archivists who blog are relatively few in number and decreasing. It would seem that blogging platforms are more likely to be used by libraries and archives as the main tool to conduct outreach with users. Microblogging is a kind of blogging and examples include tools such as Twitter, Yammer and Tumblr. Some open source advocates view the use of blogs as a significant platform for the promotion of open education and remix culture.

History

The modern blog evolved from the online diary where users kept accounts of their personal lives. Early bloggers were called online diarists, journalists and journalers. Many initial blogs were link-driven (and a source of blogspam). Many blogs had combinations of interesting links, commentaries and personal thoughts of bloggers and consequently many became well-known. Some blogs formed within communities of bulletin board readers, usenet groups and e-mail listservs; some came into being as extensions of personal webpages and provided options for readers to leave comments. Initially, bloggers created their own spaces similar in appearance and function to webpages. Weblog editors used HTML coding to create sites, spent several off-work hours every day surfing the web and posting. Originally, the community of bloggers that had expertise to manipulate the Web to exercise their thoughts and ideas was relatively limited, but all of that has changed. According to technorati.com, there were 140 million blogs as of December 2009; Wikipedia reports that this number has dropped to 1.4 million as of 2014.

Bloggers used to wield enormous influence in shaping public opinion in business, politics and even librarianship but Twitter has taken up much of the public discourse space in the 2.0 era. That said, blogs are useful tools for all kinds of organizations, and setting up a blog takes minutes as it does not require a lot of technical knowledge.

Main parts of a blog

A complete blog will encompass the following:

  • A title, main title, or headline, of post
  • Body, main content of post
  • Permalink, the URL of the full, individual article
  • Post Date, date and time the post was published ("Blog")

A blog entry optionally includes the following:

  • Comments
  • Categories (or tags) are subjects the entry discusses
  • Trackback and or pingback links to other sites that refer to the entry ("blog")

Types of blogs

Not all bloggers share the same goals, intent or objectives when starting their own blogs. It's best to be familiar with your choices so as to fully understand how to communicate by your readers/ audience. Understanding that there are more options available to you, here are some popular blog types as shown on WordPress Types of Blogs

  • Health
  • Librarian
  • Online journal or diary
  • Political
  • Topical

Blogging platforms

Future of blogging

The future of blogging platforms looks secure but some web experts suggest the drop in interest in blogs is due to microblogging tools Twitter and Tumblr. Various news reports such as this CNET report suggests that "... blogs have been credited with everything from CBS News anchorman Dan Rather's departure, to unauthorized previews of the latest Apple Computer products, to new transparency in presidential campaigns. The big question is whether blogs[...]have the staying power to become more than just online diaries." Blogs are in a process of evolution and redefinition; they started as personal accounts of one's life and evolved into useful vehicles for communication. Librarians and information specialists have been popular but more popular bloggers in the United States include Steven Cohen, Jenny Levine and OCLC's Lorcan Dempsey. Some Canadian bloggers such as Stephen Abrams are prominent.

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