"His (Ed's) basic point is that a blog is just a web site that has certain qualities, so do we have to keep saying Blog? It's a great post, and I completely agree - you don't need a "blog" to make your web site "bloggish."
Voelker goes on to point out:
However, when defining the qualities of what makes a blog a blog (or a website a 'bloggish' website), I think Ed misses a very important one, or perhaps just doesn't state it strongly enough.
Namely, to be bloggish, your site must connect to the network of conversations and people that are also being bloggish in a formally recognized way. Technically it should happen via RSS, trackback, and blogrolling - but it's not the technology that is important. What's important is that there is an unwritten, but agreed upon, standard for discoverability.
In the comments section, Marnie Web agrees:
It is not enough to publish a weblog -- or whatever you would like to call it. You have to participate to get the benefit of the network effect you describe.
I followed a link back to Marnie's blog entry where she made a distinction between blogs and blogging:
And I might be persuaded to agree with him (Ed) about blogs the artifact. Not, however, about blogging the activity. Blogging, the activity, includes linking, frequent updates that center around short bits of text, permalinks to content to make it easy for other people to track. It is not just about the communication style. It is about the activities that make the communications style work.
In my recent experience presenting on this topic, nonprofits are familiar with blogs. They aren't familiar with blogging ....
She end with a call to action:
.... I'd love to get to blogging 2.0. What metrics are appropriate ones to follow on a weblog? Why? What are organizations successfully employeeing this medium doing? Stop talking more about the definition and start talking more about the practice. (Plus a bonus link to Rebecca Blood's "How Blogging Software Reshaped the Online Community"
Yes, I'm interested talking about practice. Not just the tools, but culture shifts and personal habit changing that is required and as always the creation of learning/training materials to support npos or educators.
I started this blogging thing on an impulsive whim in 2002 after Jon Stahl gave me a moveable type blog on his server because I couldn't set it up on my own (it was pre-typepad). I failed at the activity because I didn't make it a habit. I didn't take the time for daily reflective writing that blogging requires and I totally missed the point about participating in the community. In 2003, I managed to sproadically post, but mostly as a way to categorize interesting resources I found. I was blogging in isolation.
Prompted by some of the sessions at NTC, it wasn't until the last few months that I learned about the discoverability dimension and participating in the conversation aspects. Now, my experience is much richer.
On the other hand, it takes a lot of time. Not only the time to write (which isn't easy for me), but downloading, experimenting and learning how to use software such as RSS readers, and learning new (to me) concepts like tagging. There is also overcoming the fear factor -- the fear of making a public typo (I lost that one!), the fear of sounding stupid, the fear of revealing too much, etc.
However, by taking the time to read and post in the conversation thread in the blogosphere, I've discovered some things ...
- Context is important. When you read a reference to another post, take the time to click on the links and follow the Discoverability Trail of the Conversation. Not only the content, but the community that has sprouted up around the thread.
- Don't be afraid to comment both at the original post and react to it with a post of your own if the topic is something that you want to reflect/ think about.
I also discovered two other bloggers worth adding to the RSS - Rebeeca Blood and Kurt Voelker.