Emergence of Internet as a marketing channel- Blogging is in!
The term ‘blog’ comes from “Web log” and can be defined as a website where entries are made in a journal style and exhibited in a reverse sequential order. A blog usually gives comments, opinions and information on a specific topic that can range from sports, politics, television programs, fashion, cuisines and cinema. In some cases, a blog
acts as a personal online diary!
A typical blog will consist of text along
with images; links to other blogs; web pages and media
related to its topic. Generally blogs only contain textual
matter; however, in some cases focus is given on
photographs (called photoblog), videos (called vlog) and
audio (called podcasting). According to a study, Technorati- a blog search engine was monitoring almost 60 million blogs till November 2006. Blogs have become so popular that in 2004, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary acknowledged and declared ‘blog’ as “the word of the year”!
The journey of blog – from 1994 to 2006
One of the earliest blogger was Justin Hall who started blogging in 1994, when he was a student of Swarthmore College. In the earlier years blogging was generally restricted to writers who called themselves diarists and journalists – in other words blog was one form of online diary. From early 2001, blogging stated gaining popularity amongst the web users. Trendy and popular American blogs like Andrew Sullivan's
AndrewSullivan.com, Ron Gunzburger's Politics1.com, Taegan Goddard's Political Wire and Jerome Armstrong's MyDD were launched in 2001. The importance of blogging was slowly understood and accepted as established schools of Journalism started studying about blogging and noting the differences between blogging and traditional journalism.
In 2002, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga launched DailyKos, which is now one of the most used blogs in the Internet. From 2004, blogs became extremely popular as it became a platform for politicians, electronic media or news services and contesting candidates. Politicos, who were not actively involved in any active campaigns, used the blog to bond with constituents.
So why are blogs so popular ?
According to researchers there are two possible reasons that led to the popularity of blogs – through citations or commendations and through affiliations
(blogroll). It takes some time for the blogs to gain acceptance through
blogrolls; however, permalinks can heighten its popularity much faster as web users from all around the world view the content and consider it valuable and noteworthy in some cases.
Blogs are also given rankings – Technorati, a blog search engine ranks them based on the number of incoming links and Alexa Internet based on the web hits of Alexa Toolbar users. According to Technorati the ‘most linked-to’ blog till August 2006 is that of Xu
Jinglei, the well known Chinese actress (reports said that it received more than 50 million page views) and the ‘most read’ blog as a group written Boing
Influence of blogs
Today blogs have become a vital source of news; a lot of information was gathered about the Tsunami in 2004 from Medecins Sans Frontieres that used SMS text messaging to report from affected areas in Sri Lanka and Southern India. During ‘Hurricane Katrina’ which caused huge destruction in August 2005, blogs like the Interdictor and
Gulfsails, were able to provide a great deal of information that was not covered by the main stream media.
Blogs have a great deal of influence on minority languages. It has been successful in drawing together speakers, learners and experts to reach out to those small sections of society - this is particularly so with blogs in Gaelic languages, whose creators can be found as far away from traditional Gaelic areas as Kazakhstan and Alaska.