What is a blog?

'Blog' is short for 'web log' – basically an online diary or journal created by someone to record in writing their thoughts, feelings or views on a specific subject or on life in general.

Usually appearing in chronological order, with the most recent post at the top, a blog can be informative, amusing and often contentious (and sometimes quite tedious). It can contain photographs, cartoons or just text.

It can also have links to other websites or blogs – either ones on similar subjects or ones that are just liked by the blogger and recommended to anyone interested.

Many bloggers invite, even positively encourage, readers to leave a comment about their blog posts, which can then be seen by anyone visiting the site. This interactive, fast-changing approach makes it a fascinating mode of expression and one that's increasingly popular. It's believed that, in early 2011, there were more than 150 million public blogs on the internet.

A blog’s key features and benefits

  • Usually written by one person or organisation.

  • Is made up of ‘posts’, similar to diary entries.

  • Changes regularly.

  • Invites visitors to comment or add to the blog.

  • Has archives of previous blog posts that can be seen by visitors.

  • Can be on any subject.

  • Often has extra non-text-based content – for instance, video, art or photographs.

  • A list of links to other blogs favoured by the blogger is often present. This is called a ‘blog roll’.

Debbie Brixey is a Digital Unite tutor based in south London.