What is blogging? What is a blog?

What is blogging? What is a blog? Two simple questions – but they are frequently asked. There used to be a relatively straightforward answer; not any more. Blogging is changing out of all recognition.

Let’s try and consider some potential answers to the questions. Perhaps blogging is the act of using blogging software. Well, you are now reading a “blog” but it is not put together with blogging software. So is blogging “writing something from a personal perspective” then? Maybe, but there are several thousand, non-personal, corporate blogs.

OK, answering the first question is getting difficult. Let’s try to define a blog. Is a blog something you produce with blogging software? Oh no – we tried that one earlier. Perhaps a blog is a journal, a regular article from a single contributor. But many blogs have multiple contributors. Perhaps, then, we can define a blog as just a series of articles. But then where does that leave Twitter which describes itself as “micro blogging”?

Here’s the rub. To some people blogging has always been about writing short and snappy pieces of information. To others it has been producing a daily journal or “thought piece”. Yet more people think of blogging as opinion writing with long articles. In other words there are as many definitions of blogs and blogging as there are people doing it (millions…!).

What’s important to any blogger is the recipient’s viewpoint. If you write articles, but your readers think it is a blog, then guess what – it IS a blog – no matter what you think. And if you produce a daily journal, but use a content management system or you use a traditional web design program, you could still be perceived as a blogger, even though you go nowhere near blogging software. It’s not what you think you do that matters – but what your audience thinks.

So here I am writing my “blog” without using blogging software – and even though I’m not a “blogger” but a consultant and professional speaker. But the chances are you think this is a blog – and that’s why I’ve called it a blog (in spite of research which suggests some people associate the word “blog” with lack of trust).

Take a look at your own web site menu names – are they what you want or what your readers expect? Is your blog called a blog, or “articles” or “update”? That might be fine if your audience don’t perceive you as a blogger – but if they do, better change those names to blog.

Several “bloggers” claim to have given up blogging in favour of Twitter or “writing articles on a regular basis” (as one famous blogger has recently said). Seems like even bloggers don’t understand blogging.

Happily there is a definition we can agree on: a blog is communication and bloggers are communicators. The nitty gritty details of how they do it and what they use are irrelevant. So if you have been struggling with the concept of blogging and whether or not you should “do it” – worry no more. Simply find a way to regularly communicate with your audience – they’ll soon tell you if you are blogging.

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