So, you can take this question literally and answer it with the wikipedia definition. However, the best description I have found describing a blog is by Andy Carvin at the PBS Teachers blog. As a jumping off point I have excerpted the beginning of his post here:
May 22, 2006
What Exactly is a Blog, Anyway?
by Andy Carvin, 12:01PM
If you don’t know what a blog is, you’re not alone; according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly two-thirds of Internet users don’t have a good idea of the meaning of “blog.” In case you fall within this group, you’re in luck, though – you’re looking at a blog right now.
But this is just a website, right? Yeah, I get that a lot. On several occasions while doing workshops with both educators and non-educators, people have asked me if blogs are just websites. Yes, it’s true, blogs are a type of website, but there’s more to it than that.
So what is the “more”?
- Blogs Offer Independence AND Togetherness
- An online content management system – such as the WordPress platform that we are using – frees up daily dependence upon a web developer, designer or administrator. The software installs in — no kidding — 5 minutes. You can update your own content and post media such as images, video, slideshows, and podcasts with minimal effort.
- Multiple people can share in the maintenance of the blog. No need for multiple copies of expensive HTML editing software, FTP’ing files, and worrying about over-writing each other’s versions of the document.
- Blogs come in hundreds of different flavors
- Whether you start with the “classic” or “default” themes that come pre-installed or select from the many, many, many freely available themes, you can change the look and feel of your blog with a touch of a button. For example, compare three of our blogs: SCOPE, Summer2009 and BioQUEST.org.
- Many enjoy the built-in features that allow for a very visual presentation of your content, while others enjoy its ability to maintain a public diary which invites and supports a dialog with its readers.
- Some enjoy the fact that WordPress (the most prevelent blog software) is an open-source (i.e. community) project which invites people to create plugins to add features. We are currently using plugins that do things like support forms (e.g., Where Are We? Evolution Survey) and automated page translation (just click on one of the flags near the top of the page).
These are just some of the “more” that bioquest.org is trying to take advantage of. Please take the time to tell us what you think about what we are doing by sharing a comment on this page!
Next time we will share some information about how to find your way around in a blog. All that dynamic content requires some new surfing strategies.