Types of Blogs (Part 3)
Like people and as with the nature of societies, weblogs invite social interaction and have an amoebic quality, a nucleus about which fluid interconnections – links – to other blogs and websites evolve and decay, flourish and wither. They are organic by nature – even though many commercial offerings are contrived, controlled and maintained by corporate strategy masters.
Sometimes blog rings form, communities born of mutual interest, having a common blogroll (a list of participants) on each weblog. These represent societies’ natural endorsements and may confer status on members, even to the point of elitism. A link thrown from such a group to a new member may propel a blogger from obscurity to overnight celebrity.
In truth, weblogs fall into three camps, either personal, business or community and are either individual or collaborative efforts – authored by a group of people. Certainly, blogs may be categorised by type – institutional, political, news and media, educational, scientific – but the relationship between participants is the shaping force.
Some may contend further definitions of types of weblogs are required but blogs represent the genres of literature in a far more immediate and intimate form but without the contrivance of plot and are therefore as diverse as the interests of human beings. Pick a topic or genre and you’ll find a blog devoted to it, maybe not today but certainly tomorrow.
By far and away the most common weblog is the personal blog, empowering individuals the world over with the liberty to diarise their lives, comment upon world issues, disagree, enchant, engage, dissent, praise or reveal their innermost passions with ease. But not impunity; as with any form of public publishing, laws of libel and defamation apply and many companies’ codes of conduct prohibit commentary upon business practice and personnel.
Business blogging has existed since Netscape published their What’s New blog in 1993 but it took over 10 years before the corporate community awoke to the commercial possibilities of engaging viewers in their business practices and structures.
For small businesses a blog can attract both commercial and private interest and serve to disseminate product information or technical expertise to search engines and web directories.
At the other end of the scale, corporate giants like Microsoft originate a number of blogs such as one dedicated to Internet Explorer ‘IEBlog’, another authored by their RSS (Really Simple Syndication) team or the developer group blog. These serve both to promote an awareness of products and technical issues but also endeavour to present a more open and public side to what some people perceive as an enterprise both impervious and ignorant to public interests.
Google, unsurprisingly since it owns Blogger, has its own blog ‘Official Google Blog‘, but, as with Microsoft’s blogs suite, is tightly content-controlled.
There is an argument to the effect that corporate blogging is not true to spirit since it is often subject to strict editorial control, making such blogs little more than thinly-veiled public relations exercises. Indeed, a number of employees have been dismissed for breach of employment contract by publishing unapproved content, not on their employers’ weblogs (since content would be captured and flagged prior to publication) but on personal blogs. A classic case is that of Joyce Park who discussed Friendster’s website technology revamp
Another well-publicised case involved a flight attendant who posed in her uniform on her personal blog ‘Blogger Grounded by Airlline‘, which her employer deemed inappropriate conduct.
These are just two of many instances of salutary lessons dispensed by corporations who recognise the power of the Web but, although they might encourage use of blogging by their staff, will be quick to respond to perceived threats to strategy or image.
As their name suggests, community blogs are typified by the communities they support and may be penned by one but usually many authors whose submissions help grow the topic base. They are not dissimilar to online forums or discussion groups and are generally product or topic-specific.
Communities may comprise like-minded individuals with common interests or professions – webmasters, footballers, model makers – or may take the form of physical communities like towns. Conversely, the community may be a diverse collection of blogs formed through association with a common utility such as the Opera browser which previously offered its own free blogging service ‘MyOpera Community.’
Business communities have started to embrace the ‘blogosphere’ with new social and business networks that offer a company or individual blogging software that forms a network to promote their business. A recent addition to the social media community is My Biz Journal (Built by Vincent Zegna and David Frankel) a system that compromises a network of business microblogs, free and premium online promotion tools.
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Article: Blogging Explained; Types of Weblogs (Part.3) written by Sonet Digital. Published November 2005.