An American justice of the supreme court famously remarked, when asked to define obscenity, “I know it when I see it.”
There’s been the blogahaha on what is the definition of a blog, based on what blogpundits, online journalists, etc. say.
I suspect blogging has some essential elements to it:
1. it’s confessional, or to be more precise, personal, even if used as a soapbox or for posting pieces published elsewhere by the person whose blog it is;
2. it’s informal;
3. it’s free of charge, although advertising may be hosted to generate income for the blogger (income, however, not derived from direct solicitation and not as the reason for being of the blog).
A blog format might be used for an academic website (posting articles handily), a community website, etc. but I suppose it’s intent that counts. How do you judge intent? From content, obviously, or rather, the content that’s provided.
I’d suggest for a media practitioner, the difference between a blog and a website lies in formality and content. If you use the blog style but only post the articles that you wrote that came out elsewhere, and add nothing else, it’s a website and not a blog. Generally a media person will choose to have a blog in order to:
1. obviously, reach a wider circle of readers;
2. post stuff that otherwise wouldn’t find print elsewhere;
3. post comments and views unsuitable for placement elsewhere;
4. serve as a handy means for 2 and 3 by easily linking to readings of interest.
But it is the “online diary” format of a blog, that, I think, really defines a blog in the eyes of the public. Or perhaps I’m biased since my days reading Livejournals. A blog ranges from the online equivalent of scribbling “kilroy was here” on a wall, to posting the equivalent of the guerrilla tracts protesters and revolutionaries would have slapped on public walls in the past. It is this attitude that makes many readers resist the idea that aside from a personal entity, anyone or anything (including a corporation, whether in media or not) organized and formal, with its own heirarchy and rules it enforces on those associated with the company, can call what it has online a blog.
Still, it’s all rather fudgeable.
Thanks to an interesting blog, FriskoDude, there’s this: