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What Is a Blog? What about Tumblr? What about Twitter? Are “Notes” on Facebook the Same as a Blog?

I am confused. Are all these things blogs?

It’s complicated. In some senses, yes—all of these writing spaces could be described as blogs, which blend opinion, news aggregation (posting links to news articles or columns), embedded images, video, and, and, and . . .  and they allow readers to comment.

But following some definitions, not all of these spaces would be called blogs. In their most typical form, blogs are easily updatable sites that collect a series of posts in reverse chronological order (i.e. newest post first at the top of the page), allow comments, and are often organized by tags. (Notice the wording there: a blog is made up of multiple posts, not multiple blogs as folks new to the word sometimes claim.) Even though a Twitter feed or Facebook Notes page may fit many of these traits, if you said, “Hey, you should check out the new post on my blog,” the listener is most likely to think that you are talking about a site created on Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad, or another site like it, not a section of your Facebook profile. More on that below.

The presence of comments is crucial to blogging. Comments make blogs a social, often conversational form of writing, so you should enable the comment feature of  your blog. Having comments builds ethos. 

Steve Krause's blog home page

Figure 1. Writing professor Steve Krause’s blog. Note how user comments are featured as an important part of the site on the right hand side.

But be mindful of comments, especially if anyone can post one (such as someone that does not have an account) because it may damage your ethos if those comments are not monitored, are completely off topic, or spam. Spammers and their spam bots are always coming up with clever ways to get their seedy casino and male enhancement products out there, and they’ll often try to mimic real people. If you see a comment that says “Great post!” and has a link to a casino site, delete it quickly. Otherwise, real people may see it and think you don’t pay attention to your comments. (So why should they bother posting?)