Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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What is a Blog? (My Attempt at a Definition)

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 “blog� doesn’t have comments then it’s not a blog, it’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.)

May 9, 2005