Blog, or weblog, refers to certain kind of online journal that, it is time-stamped articles posted on websites, usually in reverse chronological order. In addition, it usually enables visitors to leave comments on the same web page of article, trace related blogs between different websites, and get notification if the blog is updated. It can also refer to the action of writing blogs.
In a famous blog by Rebecca Blood, she observed that Jorn Barger named his website, which with daily articles consisted of interesting links to websites and comments of these websites; as Weblog, and it is Peter Merholz who once broke Weblog into the phrase “we blog”.( Blood, R., September 7, 2000), which was shortened to “blog” during spreading. The number of bloggers boosted after web based blog tools, such as one provided by Blogger.com since 1999, enabled writing blog or comments online, and publishing it with a few mouse clicks. But blog had not much attention at that time.
The influence of blogs was boosted by political events. After the beginning of War on Terrorism, while interactive blogs focused on the war, namely warblogs, spread and gain readership because their immediacy and interactivity, and anonymity of comments, while the reaction of mainstream media were slowed by censorship. By the spring of 2003, Forbes Magazine used "war blogger" in this larger sense when listing the "best warblogs." In the U.S. presidential election of 2004, Blogs by celebrity, such as journalists, politicians and president candidates, gained public attention. Recently, Microsoft said that the free blogging service, called MSN Spaces, had attracted 4.5 million users during its preliminary test phase, which began last December and end a few days ago. The use of the word “blog” was so common that, “blog” was included in the Oxford English Dictionary soon (Quarterly updates to OED Online, March 13, 2003). Many companies noticed this tendency and kicked in, deployed blogs on their public or private website. Several media, such as newspapers, magazines began to publish articles, especially editorials in the form of blogs. Microsoft has developed several blog systems for its product teams, individual staffs and customers.
I started my first blog at September, 2003.While I had been looking for a web application for simplify updating my personal homepage for a long time, I found blog is the exact application I want. The recent update page in my website used to consist of paragraphs in reverse chronological order, with a timestamp to mark the date of update, so that the visitors will notice the new updates easily. Despite of its usability, to perform an update of my homepage, I had to find the proper insert-point in the page, add new paragraphs, and then use some FTP (file transfer protocol) software applications to upload the whole modified page to the web server. Soon I found guest books, where visitors can leave messages and internet forums, where registered users can start a discussion or join a discussion, are very useful but both of them are not eligible for a recent update part of my website because they are open for visitors. When I found that I can perform an update by filling forms online, I switched to writing blogs almost immediately. Soon I found my blogs were cited in various blogs and get comments from their readers, because the blog tool they used adds a link, namely trackback, to my blog automatically, and many visitors followed the link on the blogs to read my blog. More visitors of my blogs come from search engines, while my posts on internet forums or guest books did not get such much attention because they do not have separate web address for each article. Some visitors come from certain kind of automatically generated websites which list recently updated blogs, or blogpolls.
Almost immediately after I started blogging, I was invited to write blog for a half-official Microsoft blog which has with authors from Microsoft employees and Microsoft MVPs. I wrote some blogs, some about technology and some related to my life. How ever, readers have little tolerance to posts about life, they want to read technology. So I gave up and started another blog for other posts. I noticed most bloggers on the half-official blog have other blogs for such use also. Now the blog is tech-only. Several Such blogs, or more like communities were created on certain topics and direct the discussion in existing communities such as war, law, technology and literature, sometimes it is called blogosphere. Opinions, ideas and discussions around a particular subject or controversy can easily spread in blogospheres through trackbacks and dominate the discussion of a topic in several blogospheres in a period of time.
Some blogospheres have great influence. They have quicker responses to breaking news than mainstream media (Conference Examines Blogs’ Impact on News. Nov 14, 2004), and some news stories were quickly proved false by bloggers (Macht J., Sept 27, 2004). They were also responsible for pushing the story of Senate Trent Lott, the Republican leader of the Senate at that time, into the mainstream, after they missed it, and caused the RESIGN of the Republican leader Senate. MSDN blog, a group of blogs of Microsoft employees and product teams, became the information and feedback center of Microsoft related technologies.
Business kicked in soon after blogging gain readership. On one hand, some bloggers make money by writing blogs by putting ads on their blogs or talk about certain products. Google’s AdSense, which deliver content-relative ads to pages, became ubiquitous on blogs, and some famous bloggers can earn a lot of money by talking about some certain products. (Gard, L. Dec 13, 2004). On the other hand, many people use the trackback system to add links to the spammer’s website, as many as thousands posts everyday on Microsoft’s MSDN blog, and made the blog hosts, and major search engines modified their software to prevent such behavior.
Censorships also covered blogging soon. Several war blogs written by soldiers were shut down under the command from officers in the Second Gulf War, and a major blog host service in China, blogcn, had been shut down until new censorship system developed to prevent illegal posts related to adult and political contents. Blog hosts, such as Microsoft and Bloggers.com, forced their “Code of Conduct” and consider some action to “abuse”. Some company fired employees for their “improper words” on blogs.
. More and more people will start blogging, entering blogosphere, and try to promote themselves. Blog will become as popular as email, or even more. Popular.
Associated Press. Conference examines blogs’ impact on news.( Nov 14, 2004). eWeek.
Blood, R..(September 7, 2000) Weblogs: A history and perspective, Rebecca’s Pocket... <http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html">.(April 14, 2005)
Gard,L. (Dec 13, 2004). The business of blogging; explosive growth means web logs are suddenly in Madison Avenue’s sights. Business Week. 2004(3912) p117.
Macht J.( Sept 27, 2004). How to knock down a Story: THE BLOGGERS. Time 164(13). p30.
Quarterly updates to OED Online (March 13, 2003) Oxford English Dictionary<http://www.oed.com/help/updates/motswana-mussy.html>.(April 14, 2005)