What is a Blog Anyway?

The latest round of blog introspection has started (see Jeff Walsh and Glenn Fleishman). Personally, I think that the comparison of blogs to journalism is premature. Journalism is a fairly mature profession, with accepted forms and rules of conduct. Weblogs are nothing like that.

I think that it is important to realize that weblogs are very close to their evolutionary start and are still experiencing a tremendous amount of diversity. In 5 or 10 years, we’ll be able to look at the survivors and determine the dominant weblog forms. In addition, weblogs are primarily the work of a single author and in many cases that author is still developing a voice. We can expect to see blogs change as their authors change.

In contrast, I think that journalism is a profession. The institutions have their own institutional voice defined by their editorial staff. Individuals have honed their voice through years of service to the institutions. In either case, they produce a consistent product.

So don’t worry about what weblogs are or aren’t. Instead, spend some time thinking about what your weblog should be.