jill/txt

Saturday: June 28, 2003

final version of weblog definition

This is the definition of "weblog" I've written for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, which is forthcoming in 2005. It's limited in size and scope: I had to keep to a maximum of 500 words, including the references, and I wrote it for an encyclopedia of narrative. The asterixes indicate cross references to other entries in the encyclopedia.

UPDATE 22/8: I received some useful feedback from the editors and have revised the definition accordingly. Since there are a lot of links to this post, I'm putting the final, final version here at the top of the post, and the draft I sent the editors in June is still here after the horisontal rule.

Weblog

A weblog, or *blog, is a frequently updated website consisting of dated entries arranged in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first (see temporal ordering). Typically, weblogs are published by individuals and their style is personal and informal. Weblogs first appeared in the mid-1990s, becoming popular as simple and free publishing tools became available towards the turn of the century. Since anybody with a net connection can publish their own weblog, there is great variety in the quality, content, and ambition of weblogs, and a weblog may have anywhere from a handful to tens of thousands of daily readers.

Examples of the *genre exist on a continuum from *confessional, online *diaries to logs tracking specific topics or activities through links and commentary. Though weblogs are primarily textual, experimentation with sound, *images, and videos has resulted in related genres such as photoblogs, videoblogs, and audioblogs (see intermediality; media and narrative).

Most weblogs use links generously, allowing readers to follow conversations between weblogs by following links between entries on related topics. Readers may start at any point of a weblog, seeing the most recent entry first, or arriving at an older post via a search engine or a link from another site, often another weblog. Once at a weblog, readers can read on in various orders: chronologically, thematically, by following links between entries or by searching for keywords. Weblogs also generally include a blogroll, which is a list of links to other weblogs the author recommends. Many weblogs allow readers to enter their own comments to individual posts.

Weblogs are serial and cumulative, and readers tend to read small amounts at a time, returning hours, days, or weeks later to read entries written since their last visit. This serial or episodic structure is similar to that found in *epistolary novels or *diaries, but unlike these a weblog is open-ended, finishing only when the writer tires of writing (see narrative structure).

Many weblog entries are shaped as brief, independent narratives, and some are explicitly or implicitly fictional, though the standard genre expectation is non-fiction. Some weblogs create a larger frame for the micro-narratives of individual posts by using a consistent rule to constrain their structure or themes (see Oulipo), thus, Francis Strand connects his stories of life in Sweden by ending each with a Swedish word and its translation. Other weblogs connect frequent but dissimilar entries by making a larger narrative explicit: Flight Risk is about an heiresss escape from her family, The Date Project documents a young mans search for a girlfriend, and Julie Powell narrates her life as she works her way through Julia Childs cookbook.

See also: digital narrative; life story; thematic approaches to narrative

References and Further Reading

Anonymous (2002) The Date Project. <http://thedateproject.blogspot.com/>

Lejeune, Philippe (2000) Cher cran... Journal personnel, ordinateur, Internet, Paris : Seuil.

Strand, Francis (2003) How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons. <http://francisstrand.blogspot.com/>

V., Isabella (2003) Shes a Flight Risk. <http://shes.aflightrisk.org>

Powell, Julie (2003) The Julie/Julia Project. <http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/>

(websites accessed August 2003)

Jill Walker

(501 words)


[original post follows]

Right, this is my final draft of my entry on weblogs for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. I think I've got the most important things in, though I'm aching to write much more about lots of it - the social aspects and the network in particular - but I think this is probably what I want in a 500 word for people interested in narrative theory. I've added more about the style of writing and the soapbox aspect, as some of you suggested, but I've left in the first sentence about the formal qualities of the genre because I think that's important. Anyway, I'll read through it again in a few hours when I've packed and mowed the lawn and then I'll send it off. :)

Weblog

A weblog, also known as a *blog, is a frequently updated website consisting of dated entries arranged in reverse chronological order so that the reader sees the most recent post first. The style is typically personal and informal. Freely available tools on the World Wide Web make it easy for anybody to publish their own weblog, so there is a lot of variety in the quality, content and ambition of weblogs, and a weblog may have anywhere from a handful to tens of thousands of daily readers. Weblogs first appeared in the mid-nineties and became more widely popular as simple and free publishing tools such as Blogger.com became available towards the turn of the century.

Examples of the genre exist on a continuum from online *diaries that relate the writers daily activities and experiences to less *confessional weblogs that comment and link to other material, discuss a particular theme or function as soapboxes. In addition to the dominant textual form of weblogs there are experiments with adding sound, images and videos to the genre, resulting in photoblogs, videoblogs and audioblogs.

Each entry in a weblog tends to link to further information. Weblog authors also link to other weblogs that have dealt with similar topics, allowing readers to follow conversations between weblogs by following links between entries on related topics. Readers may start at any point of a weblog, seeing the most recent entry first, or arriving at an older post via a search engine or a link from another site. Once reading a weblog, readers can read in several orders: chronologically, thematically or searching by keywords. Weblogs also generally include a blogroll, which is a list of links to other weblogs the author recommend, and many weblogs allow readers to enter their own comments to individual posts.

Weblogs are serial and cumulative, and readers tend to read small amounts at a time, returning hours, days or weeks later to read entries written since their last visit. This serial or episodic structure is similar to that found in *epistolary novels or *diaries, but unlike these a weblog is open ended, finishing only when the writer tires of writing.

Many weblog entries are shaped as brief, independent narratives. Some weblogs create a larger frame to these micro-narratives by using a consistent rule to constrain their writing. Francis Strand connects his stories of life in Sweden by ending each with a Swedish word and its translation. Other weblogs connect frequent but dissimilar entries by making a larger narrative explicit: The Date Project documents a young mans search for a girlfriend, Julie Powell narrates her life as she works her way through Julia Childs cookbook while Flight Risk is about an heiresss escape from her family.

Further Reading

Anonymous (2002) The Date Project. http://thedateproject.blogspot.com/

Lejeune, Philippe (2000) Cher cran... Journal personnel, ordinateur, Internet. Paris: ditions du Seuil.

Strand, Francis (2003) How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons. http://francisstrand.blogspot.com/

V., Isabella (2003) Shes a Flight Risk. http://shes.aflightrisk.org

Powell, Julie (2003) The Julie/Julia Project. http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/

(500 words)

[Should be revised before publication as more relevant literature will probably be published in the next year or so. Uncertain about including references to actual weblogs since URLs may well change, perhaps it is better to simply give the author and title in the text, and readers can search themselves to see if the weblog is still online? Could raise question of fictionality at end of this entry (readers assume authenticity, anger at fictions, hoaxes, discussions about obligation to tell the truth and so on) but to do that Id need to cut out something else. Isabella V. is the pseudonym of the woman who writes Flight Risk, or depending on how you see it, Isabella V. is the name of the narrator and the author is anonymous so Im not sure how to cite that reference?]

Posted by Jill at June 28, 2003 08:18 PM.

Trackbacks

On June 28, 2003 11:33 PM, the entry "Vers une defintion" at L'oeil de Mouche linked to this entry.

Excerpt: de weblog.... [read more]

On June 29, 2003 11:44 PM, the entry "blogdefinition" at Malins blog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill definierar webbloggar fr Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. Definitionen r bra tycker jag, hon fr med srdragen som jag...... [read more]

On June 30, 2003 06:08 AM, the entry "Quick links" at l.m.orchard linked to this entry.

Excerpt: jill/txt: final version of weblog definition Abe Fettig Dean for America: Home AlterNet: 10 Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq ... [read more]

On June 30, 2003 07:56 PM, the entry "Definio de blog" at UpGrade linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill Walker, uma investigadora de cibercultura aplicada informtica social da Universidade de Bergen, na Noruega, que tem sempre uns textos muito interessantes sobre o estudo acadmico dos blogs, acaba de escrever uma definio de blog para a The Rou...... [read more]

On July 1, 2003 01:30 AM, the entry "Weblog-Definition der Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory" at PlasticThinking: Moe's Blog. linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Aus dem Entwurf der Definition des Begriffs Weblog fr die Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory: A weblog, also known as a *blog, is a frequently updated website consisting of dated entries a...... [read more]

On July 1, 2003 04:41 PM, the entry "Was ist ein Weblog?" at Forschungsblog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill Walkers Definition fr die Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory . Wenig aufregend, aber schn zusammengefasst....... [read more]

On July 2, 2003 05:07 AM, the entry "Defining the weblog" at funferal linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I came across Jill Walker's proposed definition of a weblog which is slated to appear in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. I can't argue with most of it, but I was reminded of some thoughts I had on how we should perceive and define weblo...... [read more]

On July 2, 2003 07:35 PM, the entry "What\'s a Weblog?" at blogosphere.us linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill Walker would like to share her definition.... [read more]

On July 5, 2003 01:08 AM, the entry "final version of weblog definition" at DIENSTRAUM MediaMondo linked to this entry.

Excerpt: final version of weblog definition (jill/txt)...... [read more]

On July 5, 2003 03:01 AM, the entry "definition of weblog" at zephoria linked to this entry.

Excerpt: One of my colleagues was trying to measure blogs (how many, how often, etc.) and i warned her that she...... [read more]

On July 7, 2003 10:13 PM, the entry "Blog definition" at Mercurial linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill Walker proposes a definition of what a blog is. I didn't like that description: it is too dry -...... [read more]

On July 8, 2003 03:11 AM, the entry "Definition follow-up" at funferal linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Zephoria has picked up on my response to Jill Walker's definition of the weblog. She claims that I argue "that blogs always exist in a community context". That's not strictly true - I believe that there are several separate concepts that are conflated ...... [read more]

On July 14, 2003 07:01 AM, the entry "Weblog Ethics (There is room for that, eh?)" at cogdogblog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: As an excerpt from a new book on blogging, Rebecca Blood's Weblog Ethics is certainly timely. Especially given the current recess fighting over "de-publishing". But more than that, Rebecca's wisdom rings true as one of the early bloggers (see...... [read more]

On July 15, 2003 12:27 AM, the entry "blog definition again" at Marysia Cywinska-Milonas :: BLOG :: BADANIA :: WEBLOG :: RESEARCH :: linked to this entry.

Excerpt: It would be great to finally find a definition of a blog, that would fit exactly with our internal feeling on what a blog is. I don't like long narrative definitions (via Sebastian Fiedler). I like concise thinking and writing....... [read more]

On July 25, 2003 01:52 AM, the entry "What is a weblog?" at edtech.teacherhosting.com linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I don't plan on writing too many posts like this, but since this blog is just starting and since blogs are just now reaching the point where the average joe might start to hear about them in a newspaper article or even visit one without knowing exactly...... [read more]

On August 6, 2003 11:02 PM, the entry "What is a Weblog? Again." at thomas n. burg | randgnge linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill... [read more]

On August 7, 2003 12:58 AM, the entry "final version of weblog definition" at Adam Kinney linked to this entry.

Excerpt: ... [read more]

On August 10, 2003 02:50 AM, the entry "final version of weblog definition" at DIENSTRAUM MediaMondo linked to this entry.

Excerpt: final version of weblog definition...... [read more]

On August 25, 2003 10:18 PM, the entry "Linkin' Logs" at this Public Address 3.0 linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Linkin’ Logs Time has been at a premium, but before some things scroll off I want to link them here...... [read more]

On September 1, 2003 06:42 PM, the entry "Rarified Air." at "...she's a flight risk." linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I am a bit flummoxed at her question and I probably sit there looking like a deer in the headlights for a few seconds before I can ask "What do you mean?" To this Susan takes both hands and cups the heels of both palms over her ears, a sort of "hear n...... [read more]

On September 6, 2003 08:11 AM, the entry "A Blog is..." at Considering... linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Camillo offers another definition of what a blog is. Somebody aught to collect these. ;) Update: I found another definition using Google. It’s even going to be published in an encyclopedia....... [read more]

On September 15, 2003 08:09 PM, the entry "Weblog" at PukiWiki/TrackBack 0.1 linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Blog Perl Akiary a-Nikki/a-News/a-Column/a-Site blosxom chalow GTic HL-imgdiary Hyper NIKKI System(hns) ڼKshiki ź nicky! sns - ܤƥ Tomsoft Diary System(TDS) wdiary Perl+SQL MovableT...... [read more]

On September 20, 2003 12:32 AM, the entry "いまさらながらpublishingと日記を考える" at under linked to this entry.

Excerpt: blogの定義として ウェブロ読者のためのウェブロ用語解説http://www.gyford.com/phil/writing/2003/01/05/an_introduction_.php ウェブロ定義最終版 http://huminf.uib.no/~jill/archives/blog_theorising/final_version_of_weblog_defi...... [read more]

On October 6, 2003 05:06 PM, the entry "The decision is made" at Camillas blogg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I've been thinking -and I think I've come to a decision: since I'm going to write about weblogs this semester, and everything I read is in english - and my english could really need some updating - I might as...... [read more]

On October 16, 2003 05:58 PM, the entry "Good weblog / blog definition" at Timbu :: Musings linked to this entry.

Excerpt: jill/txt has produced one of the most sweeping definitions a blog that I have seen so far in a post titled, final version of weblog definition. I like this definition as it includes the notion that posts are free form,... [read more]

On November 15, 2003 05:16 AM, the entry "Blogs for NMS Project" at Scott Rettberg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Blogs for NMS Blog Project My students in New Media Studies are doing a collaborative weblog review project coinciding with Jill Walker's upcoming visit (Dec.... [read more]

On November 17, 2003 10:33 AM, the entry "It's official: blogs have genre boundaries too" at creativity/machine linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I know I am a little late with this one, but it links up with recent (actually, probably more forthcoming) posts about genre containment - that is, to define is to exclude, to place in a relation of difference from...... [read more]

On November 27, 2003 04:48 AM, the entry "Jill Walker's Upcoming Visit -- December 3rd" at Scott Rettberg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Congratulations to Dr.... [read more]

On December 10, 2003 03:11 PM, the entry "Top 20 Definitions of Blogging" at blogshop linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Still confused on the "b" word? Try the Top 20 Definitions of Blogging: What is a blog? Why blog? Who should blog (journalists, marketers, CEOs, techies, educators, scientists, hobbyists)? Should blogging be pure or can you make money with a...... [read more]

On December 14, 2003 10:47 PM, the entry "Definiera mera!" at Malins blog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Lite navelskderi r det nog, det hr med vad en webblogg egentligen r? Men ven navelskderi har sin plats tycker...... [read more]

On December 16, 2003 08:31 PM, the entry "Definition: weblog" at Radio Free Blogistan linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory entry by jill/txt... [read more]

On December 30, 2003 08:07 PM, the entry "Weblog Definition" at RocknGo linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jill in Norway wrote this definition on her blog....... [read more]

On December 31, 2003 02:42 PM, the entry "The Weblog Handbook by Rebecca Blood (2002) " at B2OB linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Na sequncia de uma conversa que versava sobre privacidade dos indivduos no actual contexto que as tecnologias de informao e comunicao (TICs) colocam nossa disposio,...... [read more]

On January 7, 2004 03:33 PM, the entry "Interface Culture" at Books (kottke.org) linked to this entry.

Excerpt: How well does the 6 year-old analysis of how we use and will use information technology contained in the pages of Interface Culture hold up? Not too bad, actually. Consider the following paragraph from the "Windows" chapter on what metaforms...... [read more]

On January 28, 2004 06:45 AM, the entry "And My Right Little Toe is a Weblog" at cogdogblog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: A recent barking about "everything is a learning object", including my left big toe got some interesting responses-- sometimes you can slave over an important blogged item and get nary a trackback, but toss out something silly and it ends...... [read more]

On February 27, 2004 12:57 AM, the entry "definition of a Blog" at news linked to this entry.

Excerpt: From jill/txt: final version of weblog definition "This is the definition of "weblog" I've written for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory, which is forthcoming in 2005."...... [read more]

On March 29, 2004 01:26 PM, the entry "dagens forelesning" at HUIN105: lrerbloggen linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I dag snakket vi om forskjellige typer nettkommunikasjon, med utgangspunkt i kapittel 10 i Tekst.no. Vi snakket om massemedium, som bruker kommunikasjonsmodellen sender-budskap-mottaker, og hvordan idéen om en til mange distribusjonen som har v&...... [read more]

On March 30, 2004 05:57 PM, the entry "Why Blog?" at Annelogue linked to this entry.

Excerpt: ...I like to write. I always have. At the same time I've always doubted my talent for writing. There are different kinds of writing. In Primary School up untill High School I was quite good at writing stories. I also...... [read more]

On March 30, 2004 09:17 PM, the entry "Blogganmeldelse" at hogusBLOGus linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Jeg skal anmelde en blogg, og har bestemt meg for anmelde en blogg som p en eller annen mte gir meg et godt frsteinntrykk....... [read more]

On March 31, 2004 11:47 AM, the entry "Anmeldelse av blogg" at Toril linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Denne uken jobber jeg og de andre p Webdesign kurset med anmeldelser av en weblogg. Til min store overraskelse s virker dette mye enklere enn forrige obligatoriske innlevering, iallfall har jeg funnet flyt i skrivingen min. Vi har fritt valg...... [read more]

On March 31, 2004 12:01 PM, the entry "Et tappert forsk" at Lene linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Det har virkelig vrt en utfordring finne fram til en interessant blogg anmelde.. Jeg brukte mye av grdagen til studere og analysere tromsoby.no - for se om siden kunne brukes til en blogganmeldelse. Jo mer jeg...... [read more]

On March 31, 2004 08:45 PM, the entry "Blog-anmL" at Kjell linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Hva er en blogg mon tro? Har enda ikke funnet meg en blogg skrive om. Men jeg har jo heeele natten p meg. Uglen i treet utenfor kommer nok til holde meg vken i natt som vanlig s...... [read more]

On April 1, 2004 05:16 PM, the entry "Anmeldelse av webloggen Fabeline.com" at Toril linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Fabeline.com er Ruth Merete Evangs weblogg p nettdagbok.no. Fabeline skriver om seg selv, sin samboer Roar, sin familie, sine venner, sine kjledyr, og alle sine morsomme og kreative interesser. Fabeline studerer informatikk ved universitetet i Oslo,...... [read more]

On April 1, 2004 07:08 PM, the entry "in wonderland En blogganmeldelse" at THE's Blogg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I eventyret Alice i eventyrland klatrer hun ned i et kaninhull og oppdager en verden, med merkelige mennesker og merkelige meninger. Ned i kaninhullet er en fin analogi for denne oppgaven. Jill Walker skriver i sin definisjon av en blogg...... [read more]

On April 1, 2004 07:09 PM, the entry "in wonderland En blogganmeldelse" at THE's Blogg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I eventyret Alice i eventyrland klatrer hun ned i et kaninhull og oppdager en verden, med merkelige mennesker og merkelige meninger. Ned i kaninhullet er en fin analogi for denne oppgaven. Jill Walker skriver i sin definisjon av en blogg...... [read more]

On April 1, 2004 11:20 PM, the entry "blogganmeldelse " at Baiba linked to this entry.

Excerpt: En blogganmeldelse av Veronikas Albrigtsen`s personlige nettside -knu.se Personlig weblogg "KNUSE Veronikas Vendetta" er blitt laget av Veronica Albrigtsen og den har eksistert siden 3. januar 2004. Siden januar 2004 har Veronika vrt medlem av nettdag...... [read more]

On April 2, 2004 02:05 AM, the entry "Blogginnlevering nr2. Blogganmeldelse" at Stine's weblogg linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I denne andre obligatoriske innleveringen i faget webdesign og webestetikk skal jeg analysere en weblogg. Men hva er egentlig en Weblogg? Jeg skal forklare hva som menes med ordet fr jeg videre analyserer webloggen til Document.no. Ordet blogg kommer ...... [read more]

On April 2, 2004 01:39 PM, the entry "Blogganmeldelse!" at Mr.B(tm) linked to this entry.

Excerpt: I rant about stupid people a lot. I decry the lack of critical thinking skills among the general populace. () I also take a lot of heat for calling stupid people stupid, but as long as I keep reading news...... [read more]

On April 2, 2004 01:53 PM, the entry "The dullest blog in the world ein parodi?" at MIN VINKEL linked to this entry.

Excerpt: The dullest blog in the world er nok ingen vanleg blogg, men det er kanskje det som gjer han s interessant....... [read more]

On April 2, 2004 02:12 PM, the entry "Blogganmeldelse" at Nina Terese linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Eg skal skriva blogganmeldelse av Filter. Filter blir skrevet av Ida Andrine, som er 26 år og er frå Oslo....... [read more]

On April 2, 2004 07:52 PM, the entry "Anmeldelse av webblogen MYCKET PEN. MYCKET REN." at The Bruin Blog linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Fann denne webblogen p nettdagbok.no. Du kan finne den her. Blogen er laga av og vert oppdatert av Camilla Henrikke. Ho er fdt i 1982 og er ein aktiv bloggar. I flge vg si nett utgve ein del av...... [read more]

On April 4, 2004 08:31 PM, the entry "Blogganmeldese" at Ole Thomas linked to this entry.

Excerpt: So sue me er bloggen til den ikke altfor ukjente Jon Lech Johansen. Ringer det ikke en bjelle nr du hrer navnet, hjelper det kanskje si at han de siste 3-4 rene har gtt under aliaset DVD Jon. Lyder...... [read more]

On April 17, 2004 01:26 AM, the entry "Derivar" at this Public Address 3.0 linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Derivar In a grant writing class a few days ago, we were supposed to be exploring online resources. The seed...... [read more]

On May 4, 2004 03:13 AM, the entry "Weblog Definition" at incorporated subversion linked to this entry.

Excerpt: Final Version of Weblog Definition .... [read more]

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Comments

On September 24, 2003 09:42 PM wrote:

pipi caca

what?

This is an individual post in jill/txt, Jill Walker's blog. There's more on the front page!

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Dr Jill Walker, Dept of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen