Blogging Basics


What’s a weblog?
A weblog, or “blog”, is a personal journal on the Web. Weblogs cover as many different topics, and express as many opinions, as there are people writing them. Some blogs are highly influential and have enormous readership, while others are mainly intended for a close circle of family and friends.
Why are blogs important?
The power of weblogs is that they allow millions of people to easily publish their ideas, and millions more to comment on them. Blogs are a fluid, dynamic medium, more akin to a “conversation” than to a library — which is how the Web has often been described in the past. With an increasing number of people reading, writing, and commenting on blogs, the way we use the Web is shifting in a fundamental way. Instead of primarily being passive consumers of information, more and more Internet users are becoming active participants. Weblogs allow everyone to have a voice.
What are common misperceptions about weblogs?
The main misconception about blogs is that they are only personal diaries. Weblogs come in all flavors, from personal journals that are mainly shared with close friends and family, to blogs with readership levels placing them in the league of mainstream media. Blog topics include political commentary, product reviews, scientific endeavors, and any area of information where people have a deep expertise and a desire to express it.
What is a blogger?
A blogger is someone who writes a blog.
What is the blogosphere?
Blogosphere is a word used to describe the online community of bloggers and their writings.
How is a weblog different from a website?
A weblog is a website that is updated frequently, most often displaying its material in journal-like chronological dated entries or posts. Most blogs allow readers to post comments to your the post, and link from their blog to your posts using the permanlink URL or address. In a blog, the content can be published and syndicated separate from the formatting using an RSS feed. Readers can then subscribe to the feed to automatically receive updates.
What is a weblog post or entry?
An entry, a post, or a posting, are the terms often used to refer to a specific article or commentary written by the blogger on his or her weblog.
What is a comment?
Many weblogs allow readers to write a reaction to what was written in the blog entry. Comments can often be found directly following the blog entry.
What is RSS?
RSS is a file format that allows anyone with a website — from large media companies to individual commentators — to easily “syndicate” their content, similar to how comic strips and popular columns are syndicated by their owners to hundreds of newspapers. Except that on the Web, the RSS syndication is usually free, and the content that is syndicated is often not the full entry, but excerpts and links back to the originating website. Technorati uses RSS to track updates to millions of blogs.
What is “syndication”?
In traditional media, syndication is a way of making content (such as OpEd columns or cartoons) available to many media outlets to publish simultaneously, usually for a fee. In the world of weblogs syndication means making part of a website available for consumption in a specialized reader or for other sites to use and publish, often for free. The part of a site made available for such syndication is most often a “RSS newsfeed” that lets other tools and sites display some or all of the site’s content with proper attributions and links to the original source.
How is RSS different from a blog?
A blog is a website which usually includes current entries, comments, a “blogroll,” and an archive. An RSS newsfeed is a way of representing a portion of that website.
What about an RSS search engine? Is that different from what Technorati does?
Yes. RSS feeds are a subset of the World Live Web. An RSS search engine searches only content structured in specialized XML formats such as RSS and Atom but does not look at a site’s HTML or other markup. Not all blogs have RSS feeds, and some sites that are not blogs (such as The New York Times or some online event calendars) do have RSS feeds. Many blogs only send out a small portion or summary of their full postings and leave the full postings on their sites as HTML. Technorati specializes in searching all blogs, not merely those with RSS feeds, and instead of only indexing the RSS feed (often the first few hundred words of an article), Technorati reads all of the HTML code in a blog posting, and also tracks all of the activity around a blog or post such as inbound and outbound links.
What’s the relationship between blogging and journalism?
Weblogs are different from traditional media. Bloggers tend to be more opinionated, niche-focused, and partisan than journalists, who strive for editorial objectivity. Blogs encourage dialog with readers, which is why many traditional journalists now also have blogs. The relationship between blogging and journalism can be characterized as symbiotic rather than competitive. Bloggers are often sources for journalists, and many blogs contain commentary and riffs on what journalists wrote that day. Frequently newsmakers use blogs to respond to what journalists write about them. And by linking to traditional media, weblogs can introduce new readers to journalists and their publications.
Are weblogs a business or a hobby?
For most people, blogging is a hobby. For some, especially journalists, writers, and business and political leaders, writing blogs enhances their professional careers by giving their voices a broader audience and allowing more engaged contact with their readers, constituents, and customers. Some bloggers have readership numbers approaching that of big media and are able to earn income from their popularity.
What is a permalink?
The homepages of most weblogs have several entries, or posts, listed on them. Because blogs tend to be frequently updated, articles you find on a weblog’s homepage one day may not be there the next. A permalink is the permanent identifier to a specific weblog post or article. Bloggers love permalinks — they provide an easy way to capture specific references to posts or articles about which bloggers are writing.

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