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About Blogs and Blogging - How do they differ from professional web site design?

Blog basics
A weblog or blog is a web-based publication of periodic articles (posts), usually presented in reverse chronological order. It is an online journal with one or many contributors. A blog is not to be confused with a Wiki.
Besides straight text and hyperlinks, some blogs specialize in incorporating other forms of media such as images (see web comics, photoblog), video (see videoblogging), or a particular theme. Many bloggers that otherwise stick to text may use audioblogging to be able to phone in or otherwise post spoken entries on their blogs. (See also podcasting.) A notable niche type of blog is the MP3 blog, which specializes in posting music from specific genres. New words have been coined for many of these content-oriented blogs, such as "moblog" (for "mobile blog").


A blog is made up of the following components:
Post Date - date:time the post was published
Category - category the post is labeled with (can be one or more)
Title - main title of the post
Body - main content of the post
Trackback - links back from other sites
Comments - comments added by readers
Permalink - the URL of the full, individual article
Footer - usually at the bottom of the post, often showing post date/time, author, category, and stats such as number of comments or trackbacks.

Difference from traditional sites and professional web site design:
Blogs differ from traditional web sites in that, rather then being composed of many individual pages connected by hyperlinks, they are composed of a few templates (usually Main Page, Archive Page, and Individual Article/Item Page), into which content is fed from a database. This provides many advantages over traditional professional web site design, including:

It allows for easy creation of new pages, since new data is entered into a simple form (usually with Title, Category, and the body of the article), and then submitted. The templates take care of adding the article to the home page, creating the new full article page (permalink), and adding the article to the appropriate date or category-based archive it allows for easy filtering of content for various presentation, like by date, category, author, or one of many other attributes most blog platforms allow the administrator to invite and add other authors, whose permissions and access are more easily managed than professional web site design.

The Difference from forums or newsgroups
Blogs differ from forums or newsgroups in that only one person or group can create new subjects for discussion on their blog. A network of blogs can act similarly to a single forum in that each individual entity in the blog network creates subjects of their choosing for others to discuss; these different subjects are presented in a thread-like format on a meta-forum with no one single poster having any greater control over the content of the thread than any other. Such networks require substantial interlinking to pull off, and so a group blog with multiple people holding posting rights is more common. Because they "go first," blog owners often have control over how a subject is discussed on their blog due to their ability to frame the issue.

History

Precursors
Electronic communities existed before internetworking, but generally had some quality to them. For example the AP wire was, in effect, similar to a large chat room where there were "wire fights" and electronic conversations. Another pre-digital electronic community, Amateur (or "ham") radio, allowed individuals who set up their own broadcast equipment to communicate with others directly. Ham radio also had logs called "glogs" that were personal diaries made using wearable computers in the early 1980s.
Before blogging became popular, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, email lists and bulletin boards. In the 1990s Internet forum software, such as WebX, created running conversations with threads. The term "thread", in reference to consecutive messages on one specific topic of discussion, comes from email lists and Usenet as well, and "to post" from electronic bulletin boards, borrowing usage directly from their corkboard predecessors. Many of the terms from weblogging were created in these earlier media. See "Common terms", below.

Diarists kept journals on the Web: most called themselves online diarists, journalists, journallers, or journalers. A few called themselves escribitionists. The Open Pages webring contained members of the online-journal community. The first famous journaller was probably Justin Hall. Other forms of journals kept online also existed. A notable example was game programmer John Carmack's widely read journal, published via the finger protocol. Websites, including both corporate sites and personal homepages, had and still often have "What's New" or "News" sections, often on the index page and sorted by date.

Blogging begins
Blogging combined the personal web page with tools to make linking to other pages easier, specifically blogrolls and TrackBacks, as well as comments and afterthoughts. This way, instead of a few people being in control of threads on a forum, or anyone able to start threads on a list, there was a moderating effect that was the personality of the weblog's owner. Justin Hall, who began eleven years of personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, is generally recognized as one of the earliest bloggers.
The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The shorter version, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who, in April or May of 1999, broke the word weblog into the phrase "we blog" in the sidebar of his weblog. [1] This was interpreted as a short form of the noun and also as a verb to blog, meaning "to edit one's weblog or a post to one's weblog". The site Open Diary, while not using the term blog until recently, launched in 1998, had over 2000 diaries by 1999, and near 400 000 as of September 2005. Blog usage spread during 1999, with the word being further popularized by the near-simultaneous arrival of the first hosted weblog tools: Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan's company Pyra Labs launched Blogger (which was purchased by Google in February 2003) and Paul Kedrosky's GrokSoup. As of March 2003, the Oxford English Dictionary included the terms weblog, weblogging and weblogger in their dictionary.
One of the pioneers of the tools that make blogging more than merely websites that scroll is Dave Winer. One of his most important contributions was the creation of servers which weblogs would ping to show that they had been updated. Blog reading utilities use the aggregated update data to show a user when their favorite blogs have new posts.

Blogging's rise to influence
Among the first established political blogs with U.S.-wide audiences were Andrew Sullivan's AndrewSullivan.com, Ron Gunzburger's Politics1.com, Jerome Armstrong's MyDD.com, and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga's DailyKos -- all of which launched widely read blogs in 2001-02. The first blog-driven political controversy was probably the fall of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who had remarked, at a party honoring U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, that Thurmond's leadership abilities may have made him a good President. Since Thurmond had spent much of his early political career sympathetic to white supremacists, Lott's statements were conveyed in the media to be racist. In the aftermath, bloggers such as Josh Marshall strove to demonstrate that his remarks were not an isolated misstatement, by finding evidence including quotes from other previous speeches of Lott's which were taken to be racist. Their efforts kept the story alive in the press until a critical mass of disapproval forced Lott to resign his position as Senate Majority Leader.

By this point blogging was enough of a phenomenon that how-to manuals had begun to appear, primarily focusing on using the tools, or creating content. But the importance of a blog as a way of building an electronic community had also been written on, as had the potential for blogs as a means of publicizing other projects. Established schools of journalism began researching the blogging phenomenon, and noting the differences between current practice of journalism and blogging.

Since 2003, blogs have gained increasing notice and coverage for their role in breaking, shaping, or spinning news stories. One of the most significant events was the sudden emergence of an interest in the Iraq war, which saw both left-wing and right-wing bloggers taking measured and passionate points of view that did not reflect the traditional left-right divide. The blogs which gathered news on Iraq, both left and right, exploded in popularity. The use of blogs by established politicians and political candidates—particularly Howard Dean and Wesley Clark—to express opinions on the war and other issues of the day, cemented their role as a news source. Meanwhile, the increasing number of experts who blogged, such as Daniel Drezner and J. Bradford DeLong, gave blogs a built-in source of in-depth analysis.

The Iraq war was the first "blog war" in another way: Iraqi bloggers gained wide readership, and one, Salam Pax, published a book of his blog. Blogs were also created by soldiers serving in the Iraq war. Such "milblogs" gave readers a new perspective on the realities of war, as well as often offering differing viewpoints from those of official news sources. Blogs were often used to draw attention to obscure news sources, for example posting links to the traffic cameras in Madrid as a huge anti-terrorism demonstration filled the streets in the wake of the March 11 attacks. Bloggers would often provide nearly-instant commentary on televised events, which became a secondary meaning of the word "blogging", such as "I am blogging Rice's testimony," i.e., "I am posting my reactions to Rice's testimony to my blog as I watch it" (such real-time commentary is also known as "liveblogging").

By the end of 2003 top rated blogs Instapundit, Daily Kos, and Atrios were receiving over 75,000 unique visitors per day.

Blogging goes mainstream
In 2004, the role of blogs became increasingly mainstream, as political consultants, news services and candidates began using them as tools for outreach and opinion formation. Even politicians not actively involved in a campaign such as Tom Watson, a UK Labour Party MP, began to use blogging as a means for creating a bond with constituents and creating a channel for their ideas and opinions. Minnesota Public Radio broadcast a program by Christopher Lydon and Matt Stoller called "The Blogging of the President", which covered the transformation in politics that blogging seemed to presage. The Columbia Journalism Review began regular coverage of blogs and blogging. Anthologies of blog pieces began to reach print, and blogging personalities began appearing on radio and television. In the summer of that year both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions credentialed bloggers, and blogs became a standard part of the publicity arsenal, with mainstream programs, such as Chris Matthews' Hardball, forming their own blogs. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary declared "blog" as the word of the year in 2004. (Blogs were some of the driving forces behind the "Rathergate" scandal involving Dan Rather of CBS and memos used on the show 60 Minutes II. Within 72 hours a group of conservative bloggers had built a case that they were likely forgeries. The evidence presented eventually created such concern over the issue that CBS was forced to address the situation and make an apology for their inadequate reporting techniques. Two months later, Dan Rather announced that he would step down from the CBS anchor chair. This is viewed by many bloggers as the advent of blogs' acceptance by the mass media as a source of news. It also showed how blogs could keep the pressure on an established news source, forcing defenses and then a retraction of the original story.

Blogging is also used now to break consumer complaints and vulnerabilities of products, in the way that Usenet and email lists once were. One such example is accusations about vulnerability of Kryptonite 2000 locks.
Bloggers have also moved over to other media. Duncan Black (a.k.a. Atrios), Glenn Reynolds, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (a.k.a. Kos), Ana Marie Cox (a.k.a. Wonkette), and others have appeared on radio and/or television. Hugh Hewitt is an example of a media personality who has moved in the other direction, adding to his reach in "old media" by being an influential blogger. In the United Kingdom, The Guardian newspaper launched a redesign in September 2005, which included a daily digest of blogs on page 2. In January 2005, Fortune magazine listed Peter Rojas, Xeni Jardin, Ben Trott and Mena Trott, Jonathan Schwartz, Jason Goldman, Robert Scoble, and Jason Calacanis as eight bloggers that business people "could not ignore."

Blogging and culture
Blogging however, was as much about technology as politics, and the proliferation of tools to run blogs and the communities around them connected blogging with the Open Source movement. Writers such as Larry Lessig and David Weinberger used their blogs to promote not just blogging, but more generally different social models. One of the running discussions within journalism and blogging is what "blogging" means for the way news "happens" and is covered. This leads to questions over intellectual property and the role of the mass media in society. Many bloggers differentiate themselves from the mainstream media, while others are members of that media working through a different channel.

Many bloggers have large agendas, and see blogging as part of Open Source Politics, or the ability of people to participate more directly in politics, helping to frame the debate (See George Lakoff). Some institutions see blogging as a means of "getting around the filter" and pushing messages directly to the public.
The free speech imperative of the blog world has also had a deep social impact. For example, a number of companies have clashed with bloggers, firing a few of them (for example Heather Armstrong, Mark Jen or Jessica Cutler).

Blogs have also been seen as repositories for information about the state of mind of certain people: in some cases, they could provide insight in the minds of people who committed suicide, people who committed crimes, or people who were victims of a crime (in 2005, a blogger named his murderer in the last entry on his blog [5]).
Blogs have also had an influence on minority languages, bringing together scattered speakers and learners; this is particularly the case with Scottish Gaelic blogs, whose creators can be found as far away from traditional Gaelic areas as Kazakhstan and Alaska [6]. Blogs are also used regularly by Welsh language activists. Minority language publishing has traditionally been expensive, with a small readership, and blogs effectively counteract this.

Creating and publishing blogs
Since their introduction, a number of software packages have appeared to allow people to create their own weblog. Blog hosting sites and Web services to provide editing via the Web have proliferated. Common examples include Blogger and LiveJournal.

Many more advanced bloggers prefer to generate their blogs by using server-side web applications such as Nucleus CMS, Movable Type, bBlog, WordPress, Drupal, b2evolution, boastMachine, Antville, Serendipity and Textpattern to publish on their own website or a third party site, or to host a group of blogs for a company or school. Such programs provide greater flexibility and power, but require more knowledge. If they provide a Web interface for editing, server-based systems make it easy for travelers to create and edit text; many travelers like to produce their travelblogs from Internet cafes while they travel around the globe.
In addition, some people program their own blogs from scratch by using ASP, ColdFusion, CGI, Perl, PHP, pure Ruby, Rails or other server side software. While these are much more difficult to create, they add a maximum potential for creativity.

The phenomena of multi-blogging refers to individuals, businesses or institutions that maintain multiple blogs simultaneously. If one runs a single blog, technically they are a blogger; however if one creates, maintains, and runs 2, 10, 50, 100 or more blogs, they are a multi-blogger.

Two features which are common to blogging are "blogrolls" and "commenting" or "feedback."
A blogroll is a list of other blogs that are linked separately from any article. This is one means by which a blogger creates a context for his blog, by listing other blogs that are similar to his/her own, or blogs the blogger thinks may be of relevance to users. It is also used as measure of the number of citations a blog has, and is used to rank "blog authority" in a manner similar to the way that Google uses hard coded HTML linking to create "page rank." Still another use of the "blogroll" is reciprocal linking: bloggers agree to link to each other, or link to another blog in hopes of getting a link in return.

Another central, and sometimes controversial, aspect of blogging is the use of a feedback comment systems. A comment system allows users to post their own comments on an article or "thread." Some blogs do not have comments, or have a closed commenting system which requires approval from those running the blog. For other bloggers, including several very prominent ones, comments are the crucial feature which distinguishes a "true" blog from other kinds of blogs. Commenting can either be built into the software, or added by using a service such as HaloScan. If a blog has regular commenters, this is referred to as the blog's community.
Tools such as Ecto, Elicit and w.bloggar allow users to maintain their Web hosted blog without the need to be online while composing or editing posts. Enhancements to weblog technology continue to be developed, such as the TrackBack feature introduced by Movable Type in 2002 and subsequently adopted by other software companies to enable automatic notification between websites of related content—such as a post on a particular topic or one which responds to a post on another blog . bBlog has gone as far as implementing threaded trackbacks on comments, and comments on trackbacks.

Blogs with features such as TrackBack are credited with complicating search engine page ranking techniques. Integrating these into search engines has proven to be a challenge, and has been used to deliberately "push" page rankings. However, as one Google executive remarked, it is the search engine's job to find the ways that a website represents a "vote" for another website.
Web hosting companies and online publications also provide blog creation tools, such as Salon, Tripod, and America Online.

Types of weblogs:

News and Politics
Main article: Political blog
When discussed in the news, the term blog is often understood to refer to a political blog. Political blogs may take a number of forms. Often an individual will link to articles from news web sites and post their own comments as well. Others focus on long essays about current political topics. Most news, activism, and issue-based weblogs follow the same format.
Of note is the recent trend of political candidates to incorporate blogging into their campaigns. Lower level politicians may do their own blogging, while more prominent candidates, such as presidential candidates, will leave the blogging to their campaign staff.

Personal
Main article: Online diary
In common speech, the term blog is often used to describe an online diary or journal, such as LiveJournal and Bloggoing. The weblog format of an online diary makes it possible for users without much experience to create, format, and post entries with ease. People write their day-to-day experiences, complaints, poems, prose, illicit thoughts and more, often allowing others to contribute. In 2001, mainstream awareness of online diaries began to increase dramatically.
Online diaries are integrated into the daily lives of many teenagers and college students, with communications between friends playing out over their blogs.

Topical
Topical blogs focus on a specific niche, often a technical one. An example is Google Blog, covering nothing but news about Google. Another example is a soldier blog. Many blogs now allow categories, which means a general blog can be reshuffled to become a topical blog at the user's need. Topical blogs can also cover local information.

Health
Blogs written as personal accounts of living with a specific health issue, sharing information about the experience with others who have an interest in that health issue and providing mutual support. A major category of health blogs are medical blogs, which themselves generally fall into two categories. One type is a blog written by a health care professional about his or her work experiences, medical news or other personal thoughts. A more recent trend is a blog that deals with actual patient cases. This latter blog allows other physicians to submit cases to the web site. Physicians can then offer comments or help with the case. Although still in its infancy, this format could theoretically improve patient care by allowing the primary doctor to get feedback by other experts in the field. When writing about patient cases, health care professionals must protect their patients' confidentially as mandated by HIPAA.

Literary Blogs
Given the obvious focus on words, it is not surprising that the Grub Street tradition has continued on the internet with daily commentary emanating from literary blogs (or litblog).

Travel Blogs
Famous explorers wrote their journeys down on paper. These days, modern travelers have used blogs as a way to share their stories and photos, even while they are traveling around the world.

Research
An increasing number of scholars and students blog their research notes, combining the traditional scholar's private notebook with public discussion. A related genre is the anonymous professor's blog, where the various issues related to academia may be freely discussed.

Legal Blogs
Blogs by lawyers or law students, or which discuss law and legal affairs are often referred to as blawgs. By extension, the creator of such a blog is a blawger, sometimes spelled blawgger (variant, rare).
The coining of the term blawg is generally attributed by blawgers to Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage. See Jeff Rosen Gets All Mixed Up on Blawgs, Blogging and Other Things by law blogger Dennis Kennedy (criticizing Jeff Rosen for limiting the definition of blawg to law-student blogs, and for failing to credit Denise).
Some blawgs are narrow and deal with a focused and/or technical area of law.
Others, like the Volokh Conspiracy, deal with whatever topic the blawgers wish to discuss.

Media Blogs
Some blogs serve as media watchdogs, reporting on falsehoods or inconsistencies that are presented as facts in the mass media. Many media blogs are focused exclusively on one newspaper or television network.

Religious Blogs
Some blogs discuss religious topics. Religious blogs show the public's points of view on various controversies both in religion and in politics, economics, and life in general.

Collaborative (also collective or group)
Many weblogs are written by more than one person about a specific topic. Collaborative weblogs can be open to everyone or limited to a group of people. MetaFilter is an example of this type of weblog.
Slashdot, whose status as a blog has been debated, nevertheless has a team of editors who approve and post links to technology news stories throughout the day. Although Slashdot does not refer to itself as a weblog, it shares some characteristics with weblogs.
Indymedia is an early (1999) example of a collaborative blog (although the term blog wasn't in circulation yet) that was created to cover a specific event (the WTO in Seattle), but has since spread around the world.
A new form of blog represents a fusion of bloggers and traditional media sources, allowing for topics covered in the traditional media, both print and broadcast, to be fleshed out on the web. One prominent early example of this sort of blog is the Dallas Morning News editor's blog.

Eclectic
From the Slashdot style blog comes eclectic blogs, which tend to focus on specific niches. Such sites contain articles and stories from other blogs and news sources on the web. There are often few articles actually written by the authors of these blogs and instead the blogs themselves tend to function as passageways for readers to find the actual source of the article or original posting.

Educational
Blogs have been used for several educational applications. Students can use weblogs as records of their learning and teachers can use weblogs as records of what they taught. For example, a teacher can blog a course, recording day-by-day what was taught, including links to Internet resources, and specifying what homework students are required to carry out. This application has many advantages: (1) a student can quickly catch-up if they miss a class; (2) the teacher can use the blog as a course plan; and (3) the blog serves as an accurate summary of the course that prospective students or new teachers can refer to.
There are other educational applications of blogs. Students can blog an educational excursion, recording day-by-day (or hour by hour) where they went, what they saw and what they learned - including photographs, audio or video. The collaborative features of blogs can be used to permit several students to contribute to the blog.

Directory
Directory weblogs are useful for web-surfers because they often collect numerous web sites with interesting content in an easy to use and constantly updated format. News-related weblogs can fall into this category or be political blogs.
Directory weblogs should not be confused these with weblog directories, such as BlogWise.
These provide a more structured collection of weblog links, and will often offer novel services and interesting views of the data within the directory. These can be a good source of like-minded bloggers, or bloggers situated near you.

Forums/Other CMS systems
An internet forum can sometimes be regarded as a weblog, though usually there is a distinction between the two; the most obvious difference is that in a forum any user can post a new topic of discussion, while in a blog only one or a handful of site owners can do so. However, if forum software is used for the purposes of publishing, for example, an online journal, it could be regarded as a weblog. The distinction between blogs and forums is sometimes gray in real life, and sites such as Slashdot, Indymedia and Daily Kos can all be said to combine elements of the two.

Business

Entrepreneurial
A number of entrepreneurs are establishing blogs to promote their businesses. Often business blogs act as a showcase for entrepreneurs to provide a window into the behind-the-scenes goings on at their business, presenting a more personal "face" to the public rather than a cold corporate persona. In some cases the blog itself is the core of the business bringing in revenue from advertising, selling products or information.

Corporate
Increasingly, employees of corporations are posting official or semi-official blogs about their work. The employers however, do not always appreciate the endeavor. In January 2005 Joe Gordon was fired from Waterstone's bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland, because he referred to his boss as an "asshole in sandals." In 2004 Ellen Simonetti, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant, was fired for posing in uniform on her blog. David Corby was fired from Wells Fargo in 2002 after he complained about a department policy forcing employees to wear American flag pins to show support for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He described the event as fascist. Perhaps the most famous case of all occurred when "Troutgirl" Joyce Park was fired from Friendster because she discussed the rationale behind the website's technology conversion from J2EE to PHP on her blog.
Other employers have reacted differently. For instance, when Power Line bloggers were attacked by a Star Tribune columnist, one of the bloggers' employers came to his defense.
With the rise in popularity of blogs in 2004 senior management caught on to the trend and by January 2005 several types of organizations, including universities, had started using blogs to communicate with their stakeholders. Some believe this corporate takeover of a tool that was used primarily by Internet enthusiasts will lead to a decrease in the popularity of the medium. Others believe that the use of blogs by organizations will add new voices and vitality to the medium. At any rate, there is little evidence that the growth rate of the blogosphere has slowed. A prime example of senior management blogging is GM's Fastlane blog [10], edited, among others, by GM vice chairman Bob Lutz.
In 2005 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published the guide How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else).

Busiplogs
Business spam blogs (busiplogs), a term coined by LS Blogs, are blogs that are specifically written in order to promote a product/service or business. They have no value, or information of interest, to anyone other than their owner. They are specifically designed to only promote their business. Usually the quality of the blog is low, and often the content is drawn from third party sites.

Advice
Many weblogs provide expert advice.
Many small businesses are also using blogs to offer advice and better connect with their clients. These blogs are particularly prevalent in the real estate industry where agents typically have a great deal of flexibility in marketing themselves.
Another type of small online business using blogs are independent software development firms.

Personification Blogging
That act of blogging for a non-human being or object. An example would be writing a blog for your dog.

Common terms
Blogging, like any hobby, has developed something of a specialised vocabulary. The following is an attempt to explain a few of the more common phrases and words, including etymologies when not obvious. For a complete list, see List of blogging terms.
Audioblog
A blog where the posts consist mainly of voice recordings sent by mobile phone, sometimes with some short text message added for metadata purposes. (cf. podcasting)
Blogger
Person who runs a blog.
Blog feed
The XML-based file in which the blog hosting software places a machine-readable version of the blog so that it may be "syndicated" for further distribution on the web. Formats such as RSS and Atom are used to structure the XML file.
Blogosphere
All blogs, or the blogging community.
Blogroll
A list of blogs. Usually a blogger features a list of his favorite blogs in the sidebar of his blog. These lists can be made dynamic using services like BlogRolling.
Blog site
The web location (URL) of a blog, which may be either a dedicated domain, a sub-domain, or embedded within a web site.
Blogsite
Sometimes confused with a simple blog or blog site, but a blogsite is a web site which combines blog feeds from a variety of sources, as well as non-blog sources, and adds significant value over the raw blog feeds.
Blogstorm
When a large amount of activity, information and opinion erupts around a particular subject or controversy in the blogosphere, it is sometimes called a blogstorm or blog swarm.
Comment spam
Like e-mail spam. Robot “spambots” flood a blog with advertising in the form of bogus comments. A serious problem that requires bloggers and blog platforms to have tools to exclude some users or ban some addresses in comments.
Dark Blog
A non-public blog (e.g. behind a firewall)
Moblog
A portmanteau of "mobile" and "blog". A blog featuring posts sent mainly by mobile phone, using SMS or MMS messages. They are photo- or videoblogs (mobvlog).
Permalink
Permanent link. The unique URL of a single post. Use this when you want to link to a post somewhere.
Ping
The alert in the TrackBack system that notifies the original poster of a blog post when someone else writes an entry concerning the original post.
Photoblog
A blog mostly containing photos, posted constantly and chronologically.
Podcasting
Contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting.” Posting audio and video material on a blog and its RSS feed, for digital players.
RSS aggregator
Software or online service allowing a blogger to read an RSS feed, especially the latest posts on his favourite blogs. Also called a reader, or feedreader.
RSS feed
The file containing a blog’s latest posts. It is read by an RSS aggregator/reader and shows at once when a blog has been updated. It may contain only the title of the post, the title plus the first few lines of a post, or the entire post.
TrackBack
A system that allows a blogger to see who has seen the original post and has written another entry concerning it. The system works by sending a 'ping' between the blogs, and therefore providing the alert.
Troll
A commenter whose sole purpose is to attack the views expressed on a blog, for example, a liberal going to a conservative blog, or vice versa. Many trolls will leave their remarks on multiple posts and continue to visit the blog, sparking spirited debate amongst the blog's regular readers. Trolls' verbosity can range from eloquent to crass, although most trolls probably fall into the latter category.
Many of the definitions above come from the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents

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