To be honest, I don’t think that I have ever been given a definition of what a blog is. For the most part, I think that this is because the general nature of blogs is that they are more than one thing. As Brian Carroll states in chapter seven of his book Writing for Digital Media, a blog is a collection of posts that often contain links to other posts or websites. Blogs are essentially a super-journal or diary can link to others that are like it or have to do with the same topic.
Due to the content of blogs, many people have trouble categorizing them as journalistic or not. I think that the most efficient way to categorize a blog is by separating them into three categories: Personal blogs, Journalistic blogs, and entertainment blogs. Personal blogs are the type of “dear diary” blogs that most people tend to assume are all that blogs are. Journalistic blogs are blogs that the author or authors take time to research what it is they are talking about to either call out a media source (i.e. gatewatching) or to uncover new information about a leading story. Entertainment blogs are blogs that can be about just about anything, but lack that certain journalistic quality that shows research has been completed or that facts have been checked. Often times these blogs are about architecture, art, or interior design to name a few things.
Many people jump to the conclusion that a blog must be just one thing but in reality, blogs can be just about anything. Just as we have various genres of books or magazines, we now have multiple genres of blogs. There are even websites now that are dedicated to separating out blogs by genre and listing them, almost like a Table of Contents but for the internet. Because of this mass availability of knowledge and choice of topic throughout the blogging world, we have now fully enveloped ourselves in a many-to-many type of mass media culture. What one blogger says is up for debate on another blog within minutes of it originally being posted. Everyone keeps each other credible in the hope that someone will uncover some big news or discover a lost piece of the whole picture, dramatically altering the landscape of that story forever.
Blogging is constantly evolving. It is important to remember that while not always credible, blogging can often be a way of fact checking without even meaning to. By nature, blogs take you from one page to the next to another through all of their hyperlinks. On one hand, this is great because it allows you to hear multiple opinions and stories about the same subject. On the other hand however, this can easily dilute the strength of the information. Imagine, if one newspaper printed about a scandal that involved a prominent figure in a society it would be huge news. If every single newspaper in the country, however, printed the same information with varying he-said-she-said accounts, would you be more or less likely to believe or agree with it.
Having so many outlets for people to talk about what is going on and do research for themselves can be a very dangerous thing. That is why it is so important that were censor each other and call each other out for “misprints.” Blogging is not one type of media or categorized into one genre. Blogging is whatever you make it.