Has anyone actually come up with a sufficient answer to this question yet? Seriously, we all use the word “blog” all the time, but we can’t define it. Is it a website that’s updated consistently? (If that’s the definition don’t we have to define consistently? I may post one thing a day, while someone like Scoble posts 15.) Is it a website whose updates appear in reverse-chronological order? (What about sites that only include the most recent update on the front page?) Is it a website that is run by “blog” software (say Movable Type or WordPress)? (What about sites that only use MT as a content manager. I built a high school website entirely with MT and would hardly call it a blog.)
Where does that leave us? Well, I think it leaves us with the components of a blog. Mainly RSS, permalinks, date-stamps, trackbacks and comments.
Well, first off, I agree with Tom Coates who says trackbacks are dead, so we can knock that off the list. That leaves us with four components.
Today I read a great entry over at BlogTyme on this very topic. The argument there is that it’s comments that make blogs different.
If a Ã¢â‚¬Å“blogÃ¢â‚¬? doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have comments then itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a blog, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a web site. Interaction not only with the author(s) but amongst each other is what makes it different from a web site . . .
I agree 100%, comments make blogs different. But you can’t just say a blog is a website with comments. There’s got to be more to the definition. So here’s my attempt at something a little bit more well-rounded:
Blog: A website written by an individual or a group that includes permanent links for each dated entry, the ability for readers to comment on a per-entry basis and is syndicated via RSS or a similar technology.
I think that covers the four basics: permalinks, date-stamp, comments and RSS. What does everyone think? (I know there are those that disagree with the RSS thing, but I think it’s an integral part.)