The word blog is a combination of the words "Web" and "Log." "To blog" is verb derived from the noun, referring to the act of adding or creating content for web logs. A blog is a free website in which individuals can express themselves by writing, adding photos or links, etc.
Blogs are as diverse as the internet-using population itself, often providing commentary or analysis of subjects ranging from politics, to art, to personal experiences.
The interface of a typical blog allows for the addition of text and images, as well as of links to other blogs or web sites related to the subject. This facilitates rich (or at least comprehensive) presentation and exploration of the blogger's particular subject with only a few clicks of the mouse. For example, a commentary on a recent political speech may provide an embedded link to a video of the speech on YouTube, or link to an article about the speech in the New York Times. Blogs also act as online diaries, where bloggers feel comfortable spouting opinions, funny stories, or personal problems. In essence, a blog serves as one facet of a person's online identity.
Another important use of blogs that has become more popular in recent years is when underground stores and small businesses feel obligated to use a blog to give information and receive feedback from customers and post links to other stores. Reasons for this are because they either cannot pay for a full website and for its updates, or would rather be closer to the community and connect with the customers. Additionally, since most blogs are easily editable (both by moderators and users) via a dedicated interface (WordPress, for example), no HTML or other coding need be done, as was the case pre-Web 2.0.
Readers of most blogs are given permission to comment in an interactive computer interface format which is then visible by all subsequent readers. This lends a sense of community to many blogs and promotes the concept of web 2.0.
One consequence of the fact that anyone has access to blogs is that this can affect the blogger's privacy, and in some cases this leads to threats or harrasment. Another problem is that there is no way to determine who has access to one's blog. Therefore, some people who use their blogs as online diaries are scared of revealing certain aspects of their lives because this could affect their jobs or social interactions.
Another consequence of the "anybody can have a blog" nature of blogs is that every individual has a website in which they can express their opinion. for this reason, some countries with totalitarian governments have tried to prohibit the use of blogs, since it is a very powerful tool that protects freedom of speech. Yochai Benkler touches on the democratic qualities of blogs as well, in their accessibility to the public, political uses, and as instruments as active exercises in freedom of speech. However, by the same token, they can also lead to "oversaturation"--a leading complaint against a Networked public sphere.
- http://justtv.wordpress.com/ Professor Jason Mittell's Blog, "Just TV"