Blogs Are Just Websites
The Internet has embraced blogs as both an individual and business revolution. For individuals it is a way to be heard and spread your point of view. For business it is both a way to foster customer loyalty and also a hip method of creating consumer buzz.
I hate to put a damper on all of this but … the truth is blogs are nothing more than websites. Since the beginning of the Web individuals and businesses have used websites to express themselves and market their products. So why all the hullabaloo about this new concept called blogs? My feeling is that it is simply what the Internet through its history does … create fact out of fiction. It is really noise about nothing.
Can anyone say PointCast? Back in its day (1996) it also revolutionized the Internet with push technology. There were literally thousands of articles written about the concept of push technology and how it was changing the Web … very similar to the blog hype we see today.
Netscape and other browsers integrated “push” into their software. Hundreds of new companies sprouted up offering variations related to push technology. Push was featured on magazine covers and national television. However, when push came to shove … push faded into obscurity.
If your new to this game, you may not clearly see how push relates to blogs. What many say makes a blog a blog is RSS and RSS was a development that spawned from push. Originally, RSS was thought of as a “pull technology” where the user would invite a few feeds in. However, with the advent of simple RSS readers, RSS integration into email software and RSS (and blog) search engines … RSS is actually content pushed to the user similar to PointCast.
RSS has become mainstream and is probably here to stay in some form but it is hardly a blip on the radar screen of internet triumphs. The reason is because RSS is neither a marketing or advertising medium. There is no money being made and no business leads generated via RSS. Unless this changes, RSS will forever be just another useful internet tool … not the blockbuster that is changing the way real people use the Web.
So how does all of this relate to blogs are just websites? RSS technology started as the backend to the blog revolution. However, RSS actually syndicates content from any website not just blogs and non-blog content syndication is growing rapidly … so there is no real distinction. Yes, blogs offer comments, but not all blogs do and to complicate things further many news websites such as ZDNet allow comments after every article.
Another common item cited by blog evangelists is that simple to use software allows the average person to create a blog and gain a web voice. That is true but it is far from unique. WYSIWYG software for creating web pages has been around for ten years and there has always been free web hosting.
Blogs are simply websites. What is special about blogs is that they have caught fire with the average person as a way to utilize the Web via tools such as Blogger and MySpace.
I predict an eventual blurring of the distinction between a blog and a website that isn’t a blog. If a website has RSS and allows comments but is produced via standard HTML tools is it not a blog? If a blog is produced via TypePad blog software but allows no comments is it no longer a blog?
The word blog is now part of the language but what does it mean? It’s a little blurry to me.