Tuesday, 20 May 2008


A web log (also known as a blog, see below) is a website that tracks headlines and articles from other websites. They are frequently maintained by volunteers and are typically devoted to a specific audience or topic.

Weblogs are often-updated sites that point to articles elsewhere on the web, often with comments, and to on-site articles. A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there's also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc. -- Dave Winer,
Web logs are useful for web-surfers because they often collect numerous web sites with interesting content in an easy to use and constantly updated format.

The format of web logs varies, from simple bullet lists of hyperlinks, to article summaries with user-provided comments and ratings.

Some web logs specialise in particular forms of presentation, such as images, or videos, or on a particular theme, and acronyms have been developed for some of these, such as [moblog]s (for "mobile" blog).

The totality of web logs and blog-related webs is usually called the blogosphere.

Since their introduction, a number of software packages have appeared to allow people to create their own web log. Blog hosting sites and Web services to provide editing via the Web have proliferated. Common examples include pitas, blogger, radio userland and xanga.

Many more advanced bloggers prefer to generate their blogs by using software tools such as Movable Type, and then to publish their articles on their own Web site, or on a third party site. This provides some greater flexibility and power, but requires more knowledge. Additionally, it may reduce the ease of creating and editing text for travellers, some of whom like to produce their travelblogs from Internet cafes as they travel around the globe.

Many blogging tools have also been developed to improve the blogging experience, with commonly used ones providing blogrolls and feedback comment systems. Well known examples of these are blogrolling and the commenting system YACCS. Tools such as w.bloggar allow users to maintain their Web hosted blog without the need to use the (generally somewhat slower) Web based editing tools.

Blog usually means a personal web log, a type of online diary, or journal (LiveJournal is a good, popular example) run by special blog software. Blog sites make it possible for users without much experience to create, format, and post entries with ease. People write their day-to-day experiences, complaints, poems, prose, illicit thoughts and more, often allowing others to contribute, fulfilling to a certain extent Tim Berners-Lee's original view of the World Wide Web as a collaborative medium. In 2001, the popularity of blogs increased dramatically.

Another common kind of blog is a political blog. Often an individual will link to articles from news web sites and post their own comments as well. Many of these blogs comment on whatever interests the author. Some of them are more specialized. One subspecies is the watch blog, a blog which sets out to criticize what the author considers systematic errors or bias in an online newspaper or news site - or perhaps even by a more popular blogger. One of the earliest and most popular examples of this genre of blog is http://www.AndrewSullivan.com, the personal blog of Anglo-American journalist and writer Andrew Sullivan which claims (as of late 2002, early 2003) over 250,000 unique visitors per month.

Web logs have some similarities with wikis, in that they may stimulate community interaction, and some allow reader feedback. Web logs do not generally permit readers to modify existing text.

Recently the word blog has also become commonly used as a verb: to blog, meaning to edit one's weblog. The Oxford English Dictionary has considered including it in their dictionary (see the editorial).

Amateur radio is, in many ways, the predecessor of the modern internet. Ham radio logs formed a sort-of precursor to the modern web log. With miniaturization, ham radio equipment evolved from fixed (located in homes and offices) to mobile (automotive, in cars, vans, and boats) to portable (handheld, wearable, and even implantable). Portable ham radio gear made possible the CyborgLog (cyborglog, or "glog" for short) in which early cyborg communities were possible. Glogs also gave rise to early electronic newsgathering on the Web.