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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blogging Basics

What's a weblog?
A weblog, or "blog", is a personal journal on the Web. Weblogs cover as many different topics, and express as many opinions, as there are people writing them. Some blogs are highly influential and have enormous readership, while others are mainly intended for a close circle of family and friends.
Why are blogs important?
The power of weblogs is that they allow millions of people to easily publish their ideas, and millions more to comment on them. Blogs are a fluid, dynamic medium, more akin to a "conversation" than to a library — which is how the Web has often been described in the past. With an increasing number of people reading, writing, and commenting on blogs, the way we use the Web is shifting in a fundamental way. Instead of primarily being passive consumers of information, more and more Internet users are becoming active participants. Weblogs allow everyone to have a voice.
What are common misperceptions about weblogs?
The main misconception about blogs is that they are only personal diaries. Weblogs come in all flavors, from personal journals that are mainly shared with close friends and family, to blogs with readership levels placing them in the league of mainstream media. Blog topics include political commentary, product reviews, scientific endeavors, and any area of information where people have a deep expertise and a desire to express it.
What is a blogger?
A blogger is someone who writes a blog.
What is the blogosphere?
Blogosphere is a word used to describe the online community of bloggers and their writings.
How is a weblog different from a website?
A weblog is a website that is updated frequently, most often displaying its material in journal-like chronological dated entries or posts. Most blogs allow readers to post comments to your the post, and link from their blog to your posts using the permanlink URL or address. In a blog, the content can be published and syndicated separate from the formatting using an RSS feed. Readers can then subscribe to the feed to automatically receive updates.
What is a weblog post or entry?
An entry, a post, or a posting, are the terms often used to refer to a specific article or commentary written by the blogger on his or her weblog.
What is a comment?
Many weblogs allow readers to write a reaction to what was written in the blog entry. Comments can often be found directly following the blog entry.
What is RSS?
RSS is a file format that allows anyone with a website — from large media companies to individual commentators — to easily "syndicate" their content, similar to how comic strips and popular columns are syndicated by their owners to hundreds of newspapers. Except that on the Web, the RSS syndication is usually free, and the content that is syndicated is often not the full entry, but excerpts and links back to the originating website. Technorati uses RSS to track updates to millions of blogs.
What is "syndication"?
In traditional media, syndication is a way of making content (such as OpEd columns or cartoons) available to many media outlets to publish simultaneously, usually for a fee. In the world of weblogs syndication means making part of a website available for consumption in a specialized reader or for other sites to use and publish, often for free. The part of a site made available for such syndication is most often a "RSS newsfeed" that lets other tools and sites display some or all of the site's content with proper attributions and links to the original source.
How is RSS different from a blog?
A blog is a website which usually includes current entries, comments, a "blogroll," and an archive. An RSS newsfeed is a way of representing a portion of that website.
What about an RSS search engine? Is that different from what Technorati does?
Yes. RSS feeds are a subset of the World Live Web. An RSS search engine searches only content structured in specialized XML formats such as RSS and Atom but does not look at a site's HTML or other markup. Not all blogs have RSS feeds, and some sites that are not blogs (such as The New York Times or some online event calendars) do have RSS feeds. Many blogs only send out a small portion or summary of their full postings and leave the full postings on their sites as HTML. Technorati specializes in searching all blogs, not merely those with RSS feeds, and instead of only indexing the RSS feed (often the first few hundred words of an article), Technorati reads all of the HTML code in a blog posting, and also tracks all of the activity around a blog or post such as inbound and outbound links.
What's the relationship between blogging and journalism?
Weblogs are different from traditional media. Bloggers tend to be more opinionated, niche-focused, and partisan than journalists, who strive for editorial objectivity. Blogs encourage dialog with readers, which is why many traditional journalists now also have blogs. The relationship between blogging and journalism can be characterized as symbiotic rather than competitive. Bloggers are often sources for journalists, and many blogs contain commentary and riffs on what journalists wrote that day. Frequently newsmakers use blogs to respond to what journalists write about them. And by linking to traditional media, weblogs can introduce new readers to journalists and their publications.
Are weblogs a business or a hobby?
For most people, blogging is a hobby. For some, especially journalists, writers, and business and political leaders, writing blogs enhances their professional careers by giving their voices a broader audience and allowing more engaged contact with their readers, constituents, and customers. Some bloggers have readership numbers approaching that of big media and are able to earn income from their popularity.
What is a permalink?
The homepages of most weblogs have several entries, or posts, listed on them. Because blogs tend to be frequently updated, articles you find on a weblog's homepage one day may not be there the next. A permalink is the permanent identifier to a specific weblog post or article. Bloggers love permalinks — they provide an easy way to capture specific references to posts or articles about which bloggers are writing.
Why is linking so important?
A link from one weblog to another helps provide context around an argument or point, and it is essentially a "vote of attention" from one blogger to another. By linking to another site or blog, the weblog author is saying, "I find what you are saying important enough to link to it." Linking also helps create the conversation of the Web, the critical mass of connected thought that is not available in static text.
The relevance of a site on the Web can be determined by how often a source is cited and therefore considered an authority. Links in the world of weblogs are even more important since bloggers frequently link to and comment on other blogs, creating a sense of timeliness and back-and-forth one would have in a conversation. Technorati tracks the number of links and the unique source of links to determine the breadth and readership of any author or site. Technorati is uniquely positioned in the center of this ongoing conversation monitoring who is linking to whom and which bloggers are commanding attention on various topics.
What are "inbound links" and "outbound links?"
Inbound links refer to hyperlinks from other sources citing that weblog. Outbound links refer to hyperlinks from the weblog to outside sources.
What is a "blogroll?"
A blogroll is a list of blogs and bloggers that any particular blog author finds influential or interesting — so much so that the author wants the link to be enduringly visible on his or her site instead of just in occasional entries. A blogroll is often found to one side of a blog's entries, and the hyperlinked names lead directly to the blogs in question. Blogrolls indicate which online community a blogger is attracted to or belongs to, and they are part of the conversations of the blogosphere.
What is the World Live Web™?
The World Live Web™? is a frequently updated subset of the World Wide Web. Sites in this subset update often, and Technorati is able to index this new content within ten minutes in most cases.
Is searching the Live Web™? different than searching the Wide Web?
Yes. The Web indexed by most search engines is static and inactive. Other search engines will occasionally visit sites in search of new content. Technorati is integrated with the tools that power the blogosphere and is therefore notified of new content as it happens. Technorati lets you know what is being said right now, by whom, and how it affects you or your business.
What is Technorati?
Technorati is the leading monitor of the world of weblogs. Technorati is a real-time search engine that is the largest source of fresh information about the global and local conversations going on all across the Web. Technorati allows you to find out what people are saying about you, your company, your products, your competitors, your politics and, other areas of interest, on the Internet in real time.

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