A blog is an online diary that is published in reverse chronological order. The name is derived from a contraction of the word ‘weblog’. People who write blogs are known as ‘bloggers’ and the information they publish is known as ‘posts’. Blog posts can be any length in size and can contain images, links, video, documents, in fact almost anything. You may also be familiar with Twitter. Twitter is known as a microblog due to the restricted post length of 140 characters. Blog posts/contributions can contain associated tags or keywords. In a particularly long or busy blog tags and keywords allow the writer to quickly filter the posts.
Blogs in Plain English
This short video from CommonCraft provides an easy to understand overview of blogs.
Why and when?
Blogs are typically personal and used for keeping a personal diary or for sharing your thoughts and findings with a select audience, however, a blog may also belong to a group, institution or organisation and can cover any range of subjects and uses. In business, blogs can be used as a marketing tool or as a communications tool to keep customers updated. Microsoft can serve as an example of a business using blogging for communicating with customers.
Blogs can also be configured for various audiences. Private blogs are only visible to the writer, public blogs are viewable by anyone on the internet and there is a range of options in-between where the audience can be limited based on criteria set by the author such as affiliation to a group, email membership or invitation. In addition, blogs normally have the ability to allow comments from viewers and this can also be controlled by the blog owner.
Your organisation may have an internal blog service, however if not there are plenty of free sites on the Internet. Some examples of these are:
Some of the best uses of blogs are:
- For keeping a diary of a project or task – personal or group blog
- As a reflective journal for personal development – personal blog
- Research blog for keeping track of your work - – personal or group blog
- Public blog for sharing ideas and thoughts on any subject – personal or group blog
- Using a blog to share thoughts and experiences following a face to face meeting or workshop can bring participants together to build up shared feedback or to follow up on actions.
Remember: Check the provenance of blog content before repeating or believing it. Many blogs are not checked for accuracy and are based on personal opinion.
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