Categories in the Civil War blogosphere

Posted on November 5, 2008 by

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If you haven’t been in the middle of the chatter yet, check out what some of us have been talking about over at Harry’s Bull Runnings.

We write “blogs,” but are they always blogs? Actually, in some cases they don’t meet the definition of a blog (keep in mind, this is but one definition, but generally covers the idea of what a blog is). Therefore, for someone who enters into this blogosphere or the world of blogging in general for the first time, I think it can be a bit messy and confusing.

Just to give you an example, if you were a first-time visitor and entered knowing only what the definition of a blog is, wouldn’t you be confused when you tapped into someone’s blogroll and found something other than blogging going on? There are some of us who have true-by-the-definition blogs and some of us who have, for lack of another way to explain it, “information compilation blogs” (I prefer to classify it as “originality,” as it is using the framework for something other than what it was made), and then too, there are some of us who do a bit of true blogging on information compilation blogs. Therefore, wouldn’t we do a service to the reader if we categorized according to the way we use the blog framework (in lieu of listing all under a blogroll)? Here are a few more thoughts on blogging, as defined in the HNN site…

It may be argued that blogs fall into a separate category because they need to be updated constantly. But what is a blog? It is nothing more than an old fashioned common-place journal in a new setting. It gives the reader the chance to look over the shoulder of a historian who’s reacting daily to events. 

Blogs are so new a device on the Internet that no standards have yet evolved to govern their use. Anything goes on a blog. One of the functions that HNN can perform is to help establish standards for blogs. The only way we can do this is by trial and error. Slowly over time as readers provide more and more feedback–readers like you!–we will get a better sense of what should appear in a blog written by a historian and what should not.

Since “digital history” is still pretty much a new frontier, it looks like originality may become rather defining.

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