Blog as Genre

Meg Hourihan from Essential Blogging, Doctorow, et al (O”Reilly, 2002).

When we talk about weblogs, we’re talking about a way of organizing information, independent of its topic. what we write about does not define us as bloggers; it’s how we write about it (frequently, ad nauseam, peppered with links).

Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words. The structure of the documents we’re creating enable us to build our social networks on top of it - the distributed conversations, the blogrolling lists, the friendships that begin online and are solidified … in the real world.

As bloggers, we’re in the middle of, and enjoying, an evolution of communication. The traits of weblogs … will likely change and advance as our tools improve and our technology natures. What’s important is that we’ve embraced a medium free of the physical limitations of pages, intrusions of editors, and delays of tedious publishing systems. As with free speech itself, what we say isn’t as important as the system that enables us to say it.

The blog was in 2006 identifiable as a genre: an identifiable class of writing that addresses a social need. But it's ten years on, and there's a lot more to say about it.

It is identifiable by its organization (chronological), its seeming style (seemingly OffTheCuffBLogging, low editing), its immediacy and apparent lack of mediation (ImmediacyInBlogging), and its focus on the writer. Whether openly or more subtly, blogs are about their writers.

with subgenres of
In the same way that the sonnet tends to be about lovers, so the blog tends to be about the writer - her interests, social group, etc. and tends to promise to meet some expectations of
As a genre, the blog has a lot to do with making contact and staying in contact with others in nearby social range. That is, the blog reaches out to a limited range of audience, typically defined by the blogroll.




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