What Makes a Blog?

By Deane Barker on October 18, 2004

Today in the sky: Here’s another interesting example of a USA Today blog. It’s about air travel, of all things. Ben Mutzabaugh posts at least a dozen things a day about airlines. He seems awfully well informed.

Now, I’m not interested in the subject, but I’m curious about the evolution of the “blogging form.” Is this a blog? well, yeah, I think — it has short, informative entries in reverse chronolgical order.

There’s no RSS (they have to push ads, after all), no blogroll, and no categories, but it’s very close to what we hardcores would call a blog. (Sites like USA Today have a fixation with HTML because they want to display ads. I wonder if RSS advertising outlets (like Kalsey’s Pheedo for instance) will break this wall and push big outlets like this into RSS.)

So, if we get a big outlet like USA Today into RSS, then we have one more characteristic of “bloggi-ness.” What’s left? A blogroll? Comments? Trackback? What would it take for it to be a blog to the core?

Put another way, I think we look at blogs as made up of certain characteristics, and we rate the “bloggi-ness” of a site by how many of those characteristics it implements. We could keep a simple scorecard. Even have a certification process — it’s that clearcut.

Right now, this blog seems very “outside” the blogosphere. It maintains its professional roots by not sinking into the comments/RSS/trackback morrass with the rest of us. What would happen if it did? What would happen if a big media outlet sold their soul to the blogging world and implemented a “traditional” blog? It’d certainly be interesting.

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