What is a blog? According to a recent report from The Pew Internet & American Life Project, well over half of the American adult population do not know what a blog is (Rainie, 2005). A blog can be simply defined in the following manner: “A blog is an easy-to-use content management tool. When you ‘blog,’ you are instantly adding new content to your site via a Web interface. No technical or programming skills are necessary.” (Weil, 2004, n.p.). In a nutshell, a blog is a “do-it-yourself” Website. Gone are the days (of say 2003) when one would have to be knowledgeable in html or xml programming or make use of complex, and often expensive, Web creation software to create or update a Website. With a blog, your Website can be constantly added to and updated, without having to do anything more than typing (or cutting and pasting) into a text box. Through posting links, you can link your blog to any other site on the Web. You can even add audio/visual material to your blog site by uploading them, much as you would add an attachment to an email. Others who find your site of interest can use RSS (really simple syndication) or sign-up for e-mail alerts to be notified when you post or add material to your blog.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Permalink: This is a link to a specific article in the archives of a blog, which remains valid after the article is no longer listed on the blog’s front page (i.e., after it has been archived).
Blogosphere: The totality of all blogs. Also refers to the blogging community.
Flame: The act of making a hostile post or comment on a blog, usually personal in nature.
Podcasting: To record audio files and make them available online so that a user can download them for listening, either immediately or at a later time. Although a podcast can be listened to on any suitable hardware (i.e. a computer or MP3 player), the term ‘podcast’ derives its name from the iPod, the very popular, portable MP3 player made by Apple.
Blog: An easy-to-use content management tool, which enables a person to instantly add content to a Website, via a Web interface, without the necessity of any special technical or programming skills.
Wiki: A type of collaborative on-line software that allows for a site to have its content updated and edited by readers. Wikipedia is an example of such a site.
Blogging: The act of writing on a blog.
Thread: A series of remarks posted by people in a public comment section of a blog that follows a conversational and topic-related sequence.
Sidebar: Columns that run along one or both sides of the main page of a blog. Sidebars typically contain links, blog archives, contact information etc.
RSS (really simple syndication): A form of programming code that allows Website or blog readers to subscribe to sites of interest, in order to automatically get updates fed to them in a Newsreader. The content can be anything from small articles to whole blogs or press releases.
Commentariat: The community of people who leave comments on a blog.
Trackback: A piece of programming that shows a blogger who is linking to their blog and delivers the snippets of what they said.
Commenter: A person who leaves remarks in the ‘comments’ section of a blog.
Blogger: A person who originates, maintains, and updates a his or her blog.