Just What is a Blog?
Atomizing, Distributing, and Re-Forming Content

Inspired by Josh Marshall's conversation with Arthur Schlesinger & co about "just what a blog is," here is my attempt at answering that question.

I think of my blog as an über home page. It's the web page that opens when I open my browser and it's the focal point for all my computing. What makes it different from a traditional home page is that in addition to containing links to places that I regularly visit, it:

  • is a publishing environment that makes it very easy to add or edit items. For example, if I'm viewing something in any browser¹ and I decide I'd like to add it to my blog, all I have to do is select the part I want to blog, click on a BlogThis! or QuickPost button (or bookmarklet), and then annotate the item & post it to my blog.

  • is a living document that watches other parts of the Net and displays contents from or information about those parts (for example, when the last update was).

  • feeds information about itself to anything that wants to listen. These other places can point to, publish, or run programs on the parts of my blog that they are interested in.

  • enables different views of the items, for example:
    • by date
    • by category
    • by popularity
    • by rating
    Traditionally blog items are sorted by reverse date (newest first).

  • allows people to post and read comments about a blog item. Comments can be either local or remote (e.g., in someone else's blog).

  • makes it easy for others (both people and programs) to directly link to and/or snarf a blog item or blog property.

A key feature of a blog is that it can be atomized and its atoms (or their properties) can be used anywhere on the Net, including web pages, email, NNTP groups, aggregators, and (of course) other blogs.

See Also:

¹ Currently this is available in web browsers and some aggregators, but eventually we will be able to use BlogThis! buttons in email/NNTP clients and any program that produces or accesses data. This is one of the goals of the semantic web.

Modified: 21-Jan-2004
Direct link to this blog item:  http://deflexion.com/messaging/atom/

Hashtag: #just-what-is [?]

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