In 2011 – What is a Blog?

A long time ago, in my youth [or maybe it was just around 2001] I was consulting with a web site and they were really interested in starting a ‘weblog’ – the new rage across the net.  Blogger, WordPress, MovableType and so many more.  I was aware of many at the time and had installed several CGI versions as well.  In the beginning it was meant as a web log, a personal recording of your day, your thoughts, opinions and silly things you had found on the web.  It was geared towards the individual and their voice and everyone took to it like fish to water.

And then – people became good at it – it became a profession or part of one.  It morphed into a poor man’s journalism – no degree in journalism required and in some cases frowned upon.  It began to grow and suddenly professional blogging networks grew like Gawker.  Blogs began to have multiple authors centered on topics like TechCrunch and Mashable – and I have to say that I really value these blogs.  I check dozens of them every day for news, commentary and cats on the web.

Now as a part of Content Strategy – every site in the world needs to have a blog [and Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and…] – which is a good thing, it gives the site an identity, but now we have news sites using blogs as well.  This didn’t really bother me at first since they usually were opinion based or secondary elements to the primary news.  These days – I am not so sure.

Over the last few days I have been involved in a discussion about the reorganization of a new website and the launching of 3 blogs on the site and the discussion moved on to eliminating an area of the site where news was organized by topic/area of interest.  The discussion revolved around the posting of News [and I use a capital here for a reason] in the blog of that topic/area.  This would be done instead of posting the News in main part of the site.  This means that these blogs – written by journalists – would be posting content that used to be reserved for the main news areas of the site to posting them in the blogs.

This seems like a disconnect to me.  I do not mean to belittle bloggers or say they are not journalists or anything of the like, however – blogs are subjective in nature and should not be confused with main stream media.  I believe that bloggers have a freedom of opinion, expression and vitality that a ‘News’ site does not have.  I really think there needs to be a distinction between the two formats of news delivery and they should not be mixed.  As time goes by I see the two mixing more and more, and I am really not sure this is a good thing.

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