Defining the Blog – From Text to Corporate





The blog defined

For many years, blogs (weblogs) were defined as text-based websites that kept records of days, similar to a captain’s log on a sailing ship. However, this started to change as the group of people who kept blogs became more diverse. The more bloggers began to explore the limits of their medium and of the technology that made it possible, the more the boundaries of what could be called a “blog” expanded. That having been said, the definition of blogging is something which has been very much in flux for many years, as new technologies that appeared on a seemingly daily basis, redefined what a blog was, what a blog could be, and what a blog should be capable of doing.

Blogging has evolved, taking with it the manner in which it is defined, but among the most challenging types of blogs to have emerged is the corporate blog which, for a significant period of time, struggled to gain legitimacy and acceptance in the blogosphere. In recent years however, corporate blogging has become more mainstream and has gained prominence in an otherwise individual-based medium which often has more to do with the day-to-day activities and personal experiences of an individual blogger than with a cold, “it’s only business” approach of the corporate entity; but there is little doubt that corporate blogging is here to stay, as we will discuss further in the following paragraphs.

Corporate blogging, once considered a controversial marketing tool that might have created more problems than solutions, has turned out to be the kind of advertising strategy with which businesses can derive maximum benefits from their Web marketing efforts. The most practical description of corporate blogging, as indicated in the Brafton website article titled, Corporate Blogging, “is the practice of creating content that addresses industry updates, expert tips or best practices and company news from the perspective of a brand.” The article goes on to say that Corporate Blogging “is used by businesses of all sizes as a means of content marketing.”

The corporate blog

In view of the percieved benefits promised by this method of Web marketing, many corporations, companies and other businesses that were in search of ways to capitalize on the blogging trend, made a calculated determination that a great way to ride the blogging wave is to keep a blog on their corporate website. These unique blogs are often created to appeal to a particular demographic that the company needs to attract; and content published to such blogs may at times have quite a lot to do with activities of the corporation, while at other times, it may have very little to do with the company itself.

A corporate blog will often focus on the kinds of content likely to attract a desired type of Web surfer even if that content is not related to the product or service provided by the company itself, because there are other benefits (advantages?) that can be gained. Such advantages might include, boosting the business’ web presence, which can be derived through one or more of the following coveted features:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization);
  • Visitor Engagement;
  • Brand Awareness;
  • Conversions;
  • Thought Leadership;
  • Lead Generation

Some bloggers feel that corporate blogging is a kind of validation for the blogging movement, and shows that this exciting new medium has really infiltrated the mainstream, while other bloggers consider the kind of viral marketing that corporate blogs practice to be unethical or distasteful. In any case, having watched the evolution of corporate blogs and whether how survived and proliferated the Web, instead of succumbing to failure, neglect and extinction served as some interesting and insightful lessons into the habits, preferences and spending disciplines of the modern-day consumer.

A constantly changing blog

As enhancements to the growth and expansion of today’s blogging, there is an abundance of new blog types which include photo blogs, as well as video blogs; and mobile blogging devices may well change the definition of blogging entirely by making it possible for bloggers to create new kinds of posts. And as more companies hire writers to keep blogs with the sole purpose of creating a positive buzz about their brand, bloggers across the globe will debate about whether these manufactured blogs are really worthy of the name. But between all of these different forces that are constantly expanding and reshaping the blogosphere, it is difficult to imagine that the definition of what is, and is not a blog, will ever remain fixed for very long.

The Documentary Quality of Personal Blogging

Blogs as documentaries

There are plenty of blogs on the Web dealing with a wide variety of topics and vastly diverse functions; but many blogs primarily catalog of the life experiences of their owners; so from this perspective it can be said that personal blogging, when discussed in terms of genre, probably falls more frequently in the category of documentary than any other genre. And even though there are quite a number of blogs that focus on the collection of poetry and other forms of creative writing, the vast majority of personal blogs are most likely to be categorized as documentaries.





When you think about it over the span of many years, making a documentary was meant to be an objective act of reporting the sights and sounds that the filmmaker, writer or photographer encountered. However, in contemporary times there was movement towards embracing that degree of subjectivity inherent in the documentary form. This means that modern documentaries often reflected the distinctive voice and sensibility of their creators, making today’s documentaries to revolve around personality, thereby – more often than not – blurring the lines between documentary and memoir.

Blogs fall somewhere between these two genres, muddying the distinctions even further, an indication that the personal blog, documentary and memoir are now irrevocably intertwined for better or for worse. Although few bloggers think of themselves as making documentaries in any formal sense, every time someone sits down in front of a computer and types up a record of their day, s/he is documenting a personal historical moment. Examples of this kind of blogging are those things we take for granted in our daily lives.

Fascination-driven

Things like the way we use specific modes of transportation, or the kinds of products we buy, which may seem quite fascinating to people who live outside our environments, and are therefore fascinated with our lot is at the heart of many documentary projects. When people think about blogging, documentary is not very likely to be the first description they envision, but a few decades down the road it is very likely that todays blogs will be seen primarily as very subjective documentaries of our era. People of tomorrow will almost certainly look to the blogs of today for insight into our historical moment.

Documentary may not be the aim of most people who spend time posting their thoughts and ideas on the Web; but in some ways, the documentary aspect of blogging is more of a side effect than a primary goal. However, the fact that so many people are interested in publishing these public Web diaries shows that personal blogs are about more than just rumination. The fact that bloggers are so stimulated by, and interested in, sharing their ideas with each other reinforces the idea that personal blogs are – in some ways – documentaries meant for public consumption.

A perspective-based niche

An undeniable truism is that documentaries appeal to people who are curious about alternate ways of life, and many people who regularly read personal blogs written by others are looking for this same kind of new perspective. However, this is not to say that vocations such as poetry and other forms of creative writing are deemed less appealing to blogging audiences worldwide; but rather, that each niche commands the attention of a specific section of the marketplace, with documentaries occupying the single largest share.