What is a blog?

To start, we first need to define what a “blog” is. How do we even define this? 

Richardson (2010) defines blog as, “an asynchronous, social networking form of computer-mediated communication that records personal thoughts published online to a modifiable webpage (as cited by Stevens and Brown, 2011, p. 31).

Perlmutter (2008) defines a blog as, “commonly used as Internet spaces where authors provide personal commentary on events, issues, and ideas, while allowing for interaction and the creation of new ideas” (as cited by Powell, Jacob, and Chapman, 2011, p. 272).

Richardson (2006) described the writing found on blogs as, “immediate, transitory, and interactive” (as cited by Manfra and Lee, 2012, p. 118)

Brozo and Simpson (2007) define blogs as, “frequent, chronological publications of thoughts and Web links that often mix what is happening in a person’s life and what is happening on the web (p. 336).”

I say, the best way for you to define a blog is to simply get on and look at several blogs!

Sobel (2010) suggests “the lines between new media forms such as blogs, micro-blogs (e.g., Twitter), and social networks (e.g., Facebook) are disappearing” (as cited by Powell, Jacob, and Chapman, 2012, p. 272)

How do things like Tumblr and Pintrest fit into this definition? How about podcasts and vodcasts? YouTube?

The lines between blogs and other Web 2.0 technologies are blurring. Bloggers may post videos, podcasts, or powerpoint slides as posts on their blog site. Bloggers may also provide hyperlinks to other blogs, other posts within their own blog, websites, Youtube videos, social networking sites….the connections are limitless.

And consider something like Lois Lowry’s blog. This is her personal website, with her blog seamlessly built right in.

So basically, what you need to understand is:

  • Blogs can be written by literally ANYONE, on ANYTHING
    • Blogs are not necessarily written by an “expert”-although we will talk about that
    • Blogs contain rhetoric. In fact, that’s kind of the point and the beauty of blogging. Anyone can say anything.
  • Blogs are personally created (although company and professional blogs do exist and are on the rise)
  • Blogs are accessible to ANYONE
    • Blogs allow virtually anyone to respond, although the creator of the blog can moderate these responses
  • Many hosting website allow one to create a blog for FREE
  • What we are looking at RIGHT NOW is a blog

Let’s quickly also separate the terms “blog” and “blog post” (or simply post for short). The “blog” is the overarching website containing the whole of the material. Blogs are separated into posts-these are typically time stamped and dated, individual entries by the blogger. Blogs can literally contain an unending number of posts, dating back to the inception of that individual blog. (I admit, I make the mistake of using the term “blog” for both. So I wanted to make this distinction clear here).

Oh, and someone who writes a blog is called a blogger.

Any questions so far?

Works Cited:

Brozo, W. & Simpson, M. (2007). Content literacy for today’s adolescents: Honoring diversity and building competence. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Manfra, M. & Lee, J. (2012). “You have to know the past to (blog) the present:” Using an educational blog to engage students in u.s. history. Computers in the Schools, 29, 118-134.

Powell, D., Jacob, C., & Chapman, B. (2012). Using blogs and new media in academic practice: Potential roles in research, teaching, learning, and extension. Innovative Higher Education, 37, 271-282.

Stevens, E. & Brown, R. (2011). Lessons learned from the holocaust: Blogging to teach critical multicultural literacy. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 44(1), 31-51.


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