Is a blog a diary?


One question I often get is if blog is the same thing as a web version of a diary. Those who know nothing about blogs often approach it this way: why on earth would someone want to read someone elses diary of daily activities..

Well, in my opinion diary-like blogs are the least interesting, unless I’m interested to spy someone elses private life. Good blogs are clearly about a certain topic and the reader always knows what to get.

The reader has often something in common with the blogger, like operates within the same industry or has a similar worldview.

But the question what is a blog, if a blog is not always a web diary and web diary is not always a blog? The first website ever was a blog. Tim Berners-Lee had a site that collected interesting links in the early web. But there must be some reason why it took so long that people started to talk about blogs with such a level on enthusiasm.

Weblog is like an empty scrap book: it can be a diary, a note book, a calendar, a collection of short stories, comics or anything like that. The content can be about almost anything, so the content never defines a blog.

Some underline that blogs are authentic and speak in first-person. If I sweep through my feeds I find that 95% of blogs I read are written in 1st person. There is a lot of good stuff in the remaining 5%, so blogs being like personal conversations are not yet enough to define a blog, although conversational tone is a major part why blogs may get interesting.

What makes a blog these days, in my world, is the reverse-chronological order of posts (old news is old news), possibility to participate (trackback or comments at least) and RSS/Atom/XML feed (if a site doesn’t have a feed it doesn’t exist for me).

In short, a blog is defined as being timely, participatory and available.

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