Friday, November 12, 2004

What is blogging, anyway?

I’m often asked “What is a blog, really?”

“Well...” is often my reply. It’s an easy question, and a tough one. At it’s simplest, a blog is like an on-line diary, with the words just pouring forth. But a blog can be more complex. Blogging can be an adjunct to conventional reporting, or in opposition to it, or supporting a particular point of view, or holding forth on an issue that other, more conventional means of discussion, might not allow.

I used to be a reporter. In fact, I still am, although I’m not getting paid to do that now. I’ve also worked as a communications consultant, a photographer, and a host of other occupations, some of them relevant to what I do now, some of them not. I’m a freelancer now, working for other people to build their websites, update their communication plans, help out with their media relations, work on the messages to their employees — I like to think I do it all. And some of it I talk about in this blog.

But a lot of what I write here is personal — my own feelings and thoughts. I ask questions that I don’t expect answers to and I offer answers to questions I haven’t been asked. But it’s my blog and I can write what I want. However, my mixing up my consultant’s work with my personal interests sometimes gets me confused. So I’m investigating either starting up a second blog or separating this one into different topic areas...I’m not sure which is the more appropriate route to take.

But this is a new area of writing, and there are people who want to talk about it and explore its potential. So last week, a group of people gathered for Bloggercon III, to explore the meaning of blogs. Online Journalism Review’s Staci Kramer has written an excellent overview of the conference. You should take a look if you’re interested in this subject.

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