I’m seriously considering continuing my academic studies. A PhD beckons. I spoke with my supervisor this morning and the topic that appears the best fit at this stage is “What is a blog?”. It’s such an easy question to answer. After all the answer is right here on Wikipedia:
A blog (a contraction of the term “weblog“) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
The Wikipedia answer is too simplistic. It’s not simple, as in elegantly simple, rather it’s unreflective. It fails to capture the light and shade and the nuances of the term. To understand a blog as simply a type of website is to consign it a place within the broader category of technology. However, such an understanding fails to convey the many alternative and creative possibilities of a blog. Indeed defining a blog as a website alone misses the chance to understand a blog as confession, as a project of self-creation, as a technology of the self, as reflective practice or as communication to name but a few.
Such an inquiry might raise some interesting questions. Is tweeting really blogging? Is a status update a blog? Where does life-streaming fit? How do comments change the nature of a blog, if at all?