A blog is not a blog unless…

Dwight Silverman, of the Houston Chronicle, says shame on Microsoft for calling the publishing mechanism inside the new URGE music service and Windows Media Player 11 (which otherwise is getting good reviews around blogs this morning) "blogs."

I agree with Dwight.

What made blogging better than Web sites? Five things.

1) Ease of publishing.
2) Discoverability. (Pings weblogs.com or technorati or another ping server).
3) Conversationality. (Trackbacks or as-they-happen referer logs, or now being part of Technorati and other blog search engines).
4) Linkability. (All posts should have permalinks).
5) Syndicatability. (All content should be available in RSS feeds).

If you don't have those five, you shouldn't call your stuff a blog. Especially if I can't link to it from here.

Comments

  1. Sigh. Linking is not that easy for the technogically disadvantaged ( you know – like saying short people are “vertically challenged” ).

  2. Sigh. Linking is not that easy for the technogically disadvantaged ( you know – like saying short people are “vertically challenged” ).

  3. Hey Tom Morris why so down on comments? I think they’re a must. Why am I wrong? (honestly, I’d be glad of your opinion I’m not being obtuse) you wouldn’t have been able to make your point without them….

  4. Hey Tom Morris why so down on comments? I think they’re a must. Why am I wrong? (honestly, I’d be glad of your opinion I’m not being obtuse) you wouldn’t have been able to make your point without them….

  5. Simple experience. The vast majority of them provide no actual valuable information. Most of my posts are extremely short and need no comment from people. I put comments selectively on entries based on length and whether opinion is important. If I’m asking a question or proposing something new, then I’ll add comments – but the default for me is definitely “off”. If there is something really important, they can just send me an email and I’ll blog it if it’s of any worth.

    And I can make my point quite easily – post it on my blog and trackback it.

    The software for blog comments is also a joke – co.mments.com is going somewhere to remedy the situation by notifying people of responses. But why are we still dealing with rather naff, flat, spam-ridden boards rather than building something good instead?

    I just find the vast majority of the conversations that go on in comments of little value. They do serve some purpose – they are a lubricant for conversation, but the best conversations happen in two bloggers arguing across two blogs. It has the ability to branch out and be distributed.

  6. Simple experience. The vast majority of them provide no actual valuable information. Most of my posts are extremely short and need no comment from people. I put comments selectively on entries based on length and whether opinion is important. If I’m asking a question or proposing something new, then I’ll add comments – but the default for me is definitely “off”. If there is something really important, they can just send me an email and I’ll blog it if it’s of any worth.

    And I can make my point quite easily – post it on my blog and trackback it.

    The software for blog comments is also a joke – co.mments.com is going somewhere to remedy the situation by notifying people of responses. But why are we still dealing with rather naff, flat, spam-ridden boards rather than building something good instead?

    I just find the vast majority of the conversations that go on in comments of little value. They do serve some purpose – they are a lubricant for conversation, but the best conversations happen in two bloggers arguing across two blogs. It has the ability to branch out and be distributed.

  7. I would add a 6th: upgradability. Having spent two horrible nights migrating from serendipity 0.7 to 1.02, I consider that a blog is just not a blog if it cannot migrate easily – by easily, I mean that a non computer scientist should be able to achieve migration in a couple of minutes. Migration is necessary if you want to move from one platform to another.

  8. I would add a 6th: upgradability. Having spent two horrible nights migrating from serendipity 0.7 to 1.02, I consider that a blog is just not a blog if it cannot migrate easily – by easily, I mean that a non computer scientist should be able to achieve migration in a couple of minutes. Migration is necessary if you want to move from one platform to another.

  9. I think the thing that makes blogging better than normal websites is their ability to be so personal – almost like a window into the soul, so to speak. When I look at my blog, when I am not talking tech, I am talking what about what I feel inside. Websites don’t do that, websites have a “purpose” to sell something, advertise something, admin something, etc they are no where near as personal. Back when people had “homepages” before blogs websites were more personalised, but I feel since the advent of the Blog, people are personalising their blogs and uniforming their websites. Just my two cents -Sebastian SEBRT.COM-Seb’s Random Thoughts

  10. I think the thing that makes blogging better than normal websites is their ability to be so personal – almost like a window into the soul, so to speak. When I look at my blog, when I am not talking tech, I am talking what about what I feel inside. Websites don’t do that, websites have a “purpose” to sell something, advertise something, admin something, etc they are no where near as personal. Back when people had “homepages” before blogs websites were more personalised, but I feel since the advent of the Blog, people are personalising their blogs and uniforming their websites. Just my two cents -Sebastian SEBRT.COM-Seb’s Random Thoughts

  11. Use a web hosted service and you will not have to worry about upgrading your blog engine or backuping your database. WordPress does it for free.

  12. Tyler, I don’t think Scoble was providing a defenition of a blog – he was just trying to formulate reasons on why blogs became popular (but are they really? :) )

  13. Tyler, I don’t think Scoble was providing a defenition of a blog – he was just trying to formulate reasons on why blogs became popular (but are they really? :) )

  14. If you consider yourself an A-lister at least tell us something we don’t already know. Sigh.

  15. If you consider yourself an A-lister at least tell us something we don’t already know. Sigh.

  16. I agree that comments should be included right up there with track backs. At least have the option.

    I do raise another question: Do blogs have to be open to the public? Aren’t there internal, corp blogs? And, what about “blogs” like DCX’s http://www.thefirehouse.biz blog that is only open to media and bloggers? I’d say it’s a blog.
    Mike

  17. I agree that comments should be included right up there with track backs. At least have the option.

    I do raise another question: Do blogs have to be open to the public? Aren’t there internal, corp blogs? And, what about “blogs” like DCX’s http://www.thefirehouse.biz blog that is only open to media and bloggers? I’d say it’s a blog.
    Mike

  18. Your list is a decent one but not complete by far I’m sure.
    You yourself Scobleman have posted better lists and linked to them.

    Linkability doesn’t count, since many websites allow direct links to just about every part of them. Add something else here, maybe Community enabling, or Alive, Easy to understand navigation.

    BTW, Hope you are liking the new blog.

  19. Your list is a decent one but not complete by far I’m sure.
    You yourself Scobleman have posted better lists and linked to them.

    Linkability doesn’t count, since many websites allow direct links to just about every part of them. Add something else here, maybe Community enabling, or Alive, Easy to understand navigation.

    BTW, Hope you are liking the new blog.

  20. No matter the wheel spinning per the defintion of “blogs”, Urge is just another copycat service, trying to hone in on Apple’s strong points, another expensive faux ‘house of sand’ a typical Microsoft service offering, a future trainwreck in the making. Call me cynical, but deep down, you know I am right. Urge? Yeah, to purge.

    Why the investors aren’t rattling the cages more be still a grand mystery. But let me guess…blogs and new forms of communication, have broken down the communicational barriers, blah blah blah – spare me the rot, investors want official communication, not 50,000 keychain flashlights. A decent price, with a bright future, would work more wonders over all the blogger hot air. Interestingly enough, right when Microsoft started to have real problems shipping software, out come the bloggers, and out come the blogger hires and the PDC 2003 era overhype. Odd timing, eh?

    Just kills me that Apple and the Linux weenies are weaker than flat 2-liter generic Dollar Store soda, and don’t even start on Googleisms and spacey Web 2.0 wormy fish food. But the real ‘come to Jesus’ Microsoft moments are not Vista, rather in the era beyond that. A company implosion in slow motion. MBS is the first big firestorm, I predict. Live is gonna be the biggest joke ever, but always that ‘third version dream’ that keeps the charade on teh radar screen and the troops a digging for gold (fools that is).

  21. No matter the wheel spinning per the defintion of “blogs”, Urge is just another copycat service, trying to hone in on Apple’s strong points, another expensive faux ‘house of sand’ a typical Microsoft service offering, a future trainwreck in the making. Call me cynical, but deep down, you know I am right. Urge? Yeah, to purge.

    Why the investors aren’t rattling the cages more be still a grand mystery. But let me guess…blogs and new forms of communication, have broken down the communicational barriers, blah blah blah – spare me the rot, investors want official communication, not 50,000 keychain flashlights. A decent price, with a bright future, would work more wonders over all the blogger hot air. Interestingly enough, right when Microsoft started to have real problems shipping software, out come the bloggers, and out come the blogger hires and the PDC 2003 era overhype. Odd timing, eh?

    Just kills me that Apple and the Linux weenies are weaker than flat 2-liter generic Dollar Store soda, and don’t even start on Googleisms and spacey Web 2.0 wormy fish food. But the real ‘come to Jesus’ Microsoft moments are not Vista, rather in the era beyond that. A company implosion in slow motion. MBS is the first big firestorm, I predict. Live is gonna be the biggest joke ever, but always that ‘third version dream’ that keeps the charade on teh radar screen and the troops a digging for gold (fools that is).

  22. Not really about WMP, but about Microsoft..
    Did you read that bit on George Soros selling a big chunk of there Microsoft holdings the other day.
    They bought 10,000 shares of Class A google stock.

  23. Not really about WMP, but about Microsoft..
    Did you read that bit on George Soros selling a big chunk of there Microsoft holdings the other day.
    They bought 10,000 shares of Class A google stock.

  24. Essential ingredients of a blog…

    FOR THE PAST FOUR years I have endured snarky comments about what makes a blog a blog. Some commentators have suggested my take on things is no better than comparing sizes of things. Today, Robert Scoble rows in with his oft-stated view on the matter a…

  25. Those five things are advantages that a blog may have over a web site (though not necessary), but they certainly aren’t the five qualities that define a blog.

    Many of the earliest blogs had none of those, and the rest had only #2, #4, and *maybe* #1. My first blog predated Technocrati, trackbacks, RSS, and blogging software. It wasn’t easy, it didn’t ping anything, there were no trackbacks or permalinks, and there was no RSS feed. (It did have an RDF feed but that didn’t last long because no one was using it.) And everyone thought I was crazy back then. “Why would you put your personal thoughts on the internet where *anyone* could read them?”, they all asked in horror.

    So you’ll understand if I get miffed that once again someone with a pulpit is defining “blog” in such a way as to exclude the ur-blogs that were around before the rest of the world caught a clue.

  26. Those five things are advantages that a blog may have over a web site (though not necessary), but they certainly aren’t the five qualities that define a blog.

    Many of the earliest blogs had none of those, and the rest had only #2, #4, and *maybe* #1. My first blog predated Technocrati, trackbacks, RSS, and blogging software. It wasn’t easy, it didn’t ping anything, there were no trackbacks or permalinks, and there was no RSS feed. (It did have an RDF feed but that didn’t last long because no one was using it.) And everyone thought I was crazy back then. “Why would you put your personal thoughts on the internet where *anyone* could read them?”, they all asked in horror.

    So you’ll understand if I get miffed that once again someone with a pulpit is defining “blog” in such a way as to exclude the ur-blogs that were around before the rest of the world caught a clue.

  27. Vad är en blogg?…

    Hur definierar man en blogg? Robert Scoble gör ett intressant försök på sin blogg:
    1) Ease of publishing.
    2) Discoverability. (Pings weblogs.com or technorati or …

  28. IMHO, blogs are more about the language used, than the technology. Most news sites have direct links to articles, doesn’t make them a blog….
    A news site can have RSS feeds of articles, doesn’t make them a blog…..
    Any CMS can be easy to publish to, Drupal for example, doesn’t make it a blog….
    Discoverability is a nothing to me. I don’t use technorati or anything to find blogs, though there are arguements about whether some ‘blogs’ listed on there are actually blogs. Again, Apps like drupal can ping those sotes about updated content.
    And a lot of blogs disable trackbacks because of spam…..

    I don’t see that any of those things really make a site a blog.

    To me, it’s about the language used. A blog is written from a more personal point of view than a professional journalistic site.

  29. IMHO, blogs are more about the language used, than the technology. Most news sites have direct links to articles, doesn’t make them a blog….
    A news site can have RSS feeds of articles, doesn’t make them a blog…..
    Any CMS can be easy to publish to, Drupal for example, doesn’t make it a blog….
    Discoverability is a nothing to me. I don’t use technorati or anything to find blogs, though there are arguements about whether some ‘blogs’ listed on there are actually blogs. Again, Apps like drupal can ping those sotes about updated content.
    And a lot of blogs disable trackbacks because of spam…..

    I don’t see that any of those things really make a site a blog.

    To me, it’s about the language used. A blog is written from a more personal point of view than a professional journalistic site.

  30. In my innoncence as a new blogger I’ve just started a similar topic about trying to define what a blog is.

    I don’t think a general definition of a blog can be reduced to a simple list like this. Although the term has been around a while, it’s only just beginning to mature. It’s in an inchoate state as l.lee.lowe put it.

    In other words the art and science of blogging is only now getting into its infancy, we can try and predict what it will look like when it grows up, but we can’t pin it down yet.

  31. In my innoncence as a new blogger I’ve just started a similar topic about trying to define what a blog is.

    I don’t think a general definition of a blog can be reduced to a simple list like this. Although the term has been around a while, it’s only just beginning to mature. It’s in an inchoate state as l.lee.lowe put it.

    In other words the art and science of blogging is only now getting into its infancy, we can try and predict what it will look like when it grows up, but we can’t pin it down yet.

  32. Please I was “blogging” before the word even existed. You can’t really define it with requirements. That’s like Microsoft saying an ultra-mobile PC isn’t a “UMPC” unless it does x, y, and z. :)

  33. Please I was “blogging” before the word even existed. You can’t really define it with requirements. That’s like Microsoft saying an ultra-mobile PC isn’t a “UMPC” unless it does x, y, and z. :)

  34. What’s the Difference Between a Blog and a Web Site?…

    Saturday again, so I’m allowed to post a little off the effective winery Web site topic. I’d like to point you to Robert Microsoft Blogger Scoble’s list of what separates blogs from a vanilla Web sites: Ease of publishing (just…

  35. i understand what you mean, but there are sites that are generally considered blogs because they are updated frequently, have content displayed in reverse chronological order, but have no RSS, no permalinks, and no “leave a comment” spaces. Karen Cheng’s blog for example.

  36. i understand what you mean, but there are sites that are generally considered blogs because they are updated frequently, have content displayed in reverse chronological order, but have no RSS, no permalinks, and no “leave a comment” spaces. Karen Cheng’s blog for example.

  37. [...] Great “Turing test“ for if what you have is a blog, by Scoble via LexBlog via Blog de Octavio Isaac Rojas Orduña 1. Ease of publishing. 2. Discoverability. (Pings weblogs.com or technorati or another ping server). 3. Conversationality. (Trackbacks or as-they-happen referer logs, or now being part of Technorati and other blog search engines). 4. Linkability. (All posts should have permalinks). 5. Syndicatability. (All content should be available in RSS feeds). [...]

  38. [...] It’s a great idea, though perhaps a slight misunderstanding of the word “blog” — which actually means an online diary that allows readers to post comments. A bit like my own website, for example. Purists such as Robert Scoble would add the requirement for RSS feeds, trackbacks and pinging blog search engines such as Technorati, though in practice, not all blogs do this. Then again, I guess we could stretch the definition a bit just for Faith Camp. There aren’t likely to be that many people going online on the East of England Showground during the week, after all. [...]

  39. [...] I am not a blog even though I appear to meet Scoble's main criteria. I prefer to think of myself as an online journal, a publication, a Web log, a weblog, a Photoblog or even an online diary. OK. OK. I admit it. He may have had a point about my split personality. [...]

  40. [...] Ms. West quoted Robert Scoble’s five reasons why blogging is better than a web site. These are: 1. Often easier to build – free software is easy to use. 2. Discoverability – blogs are well indexed with good metadata. Google has a blog search as does Technorati. 3. Conversationality – it lets people talk to each other and you get to know the authors. 4. Linkability – blogs contain lots of links to other blogs or sites. 5. Syndicatability – nearly all blogging software will generate RSS feeds automatically. [...]