Defining a Blog

By Deane Barker on June 3, 2003

Harvard Weblogs: What makes a weblog a weblog?: Here’s an awfully interesting attempt that succeeds in defining just what a “weblog” is. It’s written by Dave Winer, who should know since he founded Userland.

“At Berkman we’re studying weblogs, how they’re used, and what they are. Rather than saying ‘I know it when I see it’ I wanted to list all the known features of weblog software, but more important, get to the heart of what a weblog is, and how a weblog is different from a Wiki, or a news site managed with software like Vignette or Interwoven.”

He loses me with that last sentence, however, because I believe a blog is a format, not a specific platform. Vignette and Interwoven (and Documentum and Stellant and Broadvision…) are software platforms that enable you to publish a format. You could run a blog on any of those content management systems rather than Movable Type or Blogger.

What makes a blog a blog is the content and format, not the technology. A blog could even be hard-coded HTML in FrontPage or something. It’d be unwieldy to maintain, but from the user’s perspective, it’s the same thing.