What's a Blog?

To understand blogging as a corporate communications tool, we must understand the nature of blogs (basic definition).
You can find as many definitions and explanations as you like. In our opinion, these are the relevant distinctive features of blogs.

The Personality
Blogs are not objective. They give you biased opinions, and you know it. In a way, they're much like reading letters from someone. After a while you can sense that person's values and interests, and you can't remove the person - the personality - from the equation. That would make both writing and reading pointless, or at least transform it to something else than blogging. People write blogs, not the Corporate Communication Department (but people working there can).

The Voice
Closely related to the above, a blog has a voice of its own. An author's voice. There's no template to use. A blogger must dare to be a person instead of an official and a voice will be heard. Most probably it will be an everyday voice; natural, direct and informal, maybe even funny or irritating. Blogging shouldn't be compared to journalism, but you'll find a similarity between Personality/Voice and the ingredients of really good newspaper columns.

The Links
Blogging has been called the Art of Linking and links are a major part of most blogs. As blog readers we want it. With the Web growing absurdly by the minute, we have no chance of keeping up. The blogs do that for us, in often very small niches. But it's not just the links - people have been putting together lists with links since the birth of the Web. With blogs we like, we get the most interesting links with at least some degree of context.

The Conversations
You're not alone out there. There's always other blogs sharing your interests. You become a part of the conversation by linking to those blogs from posts of your own, stating your opinions, publishing related information or thoughts. If you do it well they link to you, and a kind of conversation between blogs have started. It's of course not necessary to actively try to converse, but most bloggers would argue that this is an important part of blogging.

The Frequency
Blogs are immediate, almost instantaneous. Blogs are at their best when you get the feeling that the blogger publishes as soon as he or she has something to say. As a result it's not frequent enough to publish once a month, even once a week. You might get some subscribers/readers, but you'll never become a voice they listen to, look forward to hearing from.

The Feed
This is tech stuff, and a blog can be defined by the content-related characteristics alone. But most blogs are published both on web sites and as so called feeds. You'll find more about this in our "Read blogs?"-section.

That's what blogs are. What, then, are corporate blogs? A corporate blog is a blog published by, or with the support of, an organization to reach that organization's goals. Some would say this contradicts the original idea - that of the independent voice giving its views on the world, in a conversation with other independent voices. Probably it does. You must decide for yourself if that's development or degeneration.

Related links

Blogs for dummies
Multimedia presentation by Internet Time Blog

Blog, Weblog Definition
PR Communications

Publish your thoughts
Blogger

Into The Blogosphere
This online, edited collection explores discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs.

What's a Blog?
Moraine Valley Community College

Sex Education and a 6 year old - How do we tell non-bloggers about blogging?
Robert Paterson's Weblog