What Makes a Blog?

By Deane Barker on May 1, 2008

Harvard Weblogs: What makes a weblog a weblog?: This post is five years old, but it’s important and touches on a point I’ve always kind of wondered about — what makes a blog? When do you have a blog as opposed to a regular Web site?

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.

There’s a lot of technical information about templates and calendars and such, but in my mind, the differences is in perspective and tone, and Winer hits it on the head right here:

The personalities of the writers come through. That is the essential element of weblog writing, and almost all the other elements can be missing, and the rules can be violated, imho, as long as the voice of a person comes through, it’s a weblog.

When people read a weblog, they’re getting the voice of an actual person, not some nameless, faceless organization. That’s really the trick.