What is a blog?

For those unfamiliar with the term, the word “blog” is a contraction of its original name, “web log.” A blog might best be described as a web-based publication consisting of a number of posts, with new posts added on a regular basis. Each post is generally a brief article written by the author(s) of the blog, or perhaps another contributor. Articles are generally presented in reverse chronological order with the newest entry residing at the top of the page. Like a typical web site, a blog can include text, images or multimedia content, and quite commonly will feature elements of all three, though text predominates.

There are as many types of blogs as there are individual interests, ranging in scope from a personal journal or travel diary to blogs that discuss more universal political, religious or social concerns. Others may attract readers interested in legal, medical or other professional matters while others still may focus on corporate or business issues. Many of the most popular blogs cover news, information and opinion – from every conceivable slice of the political spectrum.

A blog may be authored by an individual, or it may be a collaborate effort of a group of authors and contributors. Some blogs allow visitors to leave comments that remain attached to a post. This creates a ‘community’ of readers and participants. While these comments are often allowed, they are almost always moderated as a blog is not intended to be a bulletin board or forum. Moderating the comments allows the blog’s author to keep the site focused. The comments are usually included as a footnote that requires you click a link to access them. In this way those interested in the comments can readily view them, while others who would rather focus on the information presented in the article are not encumbered by the comments.

Many blogs, especially those which focus primarily on news, link to stories and articles on other blogs or web sites. Taken as a whole this community of blogs and blog-related sites is often refered to as the “blogosphere.” In many ways, blogs and blogging represent a new growth trend on the Internet, and many observers expect it to grow exponentially in the near term, noting that some popular blogs generate between 200,000-500,000 vists daily.