Monday, February 28

Do blogs offer a plattform for the "ideal speech situation"? IV

2.) The weblog: a definition

Focusing on the technical aspects of the blog doesn’t tell much about the thing that is the most important about blogs, namely that one communicates with others through them.

[...] perhaps best compare them to ‘Speaker’s corner’ in London [...] by blogging someone climbs on a virtual box to tell a story. This story attracts the attention of passers by on the internet [...] People [...] can stop for a while and listen to what is being said. People who are interested can react on the things that are written through a comment function or by writing about the topic on one’s own blog.

What happens in both cases, at Speaker’s Corner and in blogs, is that through dissemination dialogue will be achieved. Peters (1999) explains what these two terms mean.

According to Socrates [...] the only way in which people can truly communicate with each other is through dialogue. The melting together of two souls is the only way in which two parties can communicate with each other.

on the other hand departs from the point-of-view that the best way to get ideas into the world is by scattering them around [...]

Through blogging one starts with dissemination on the internet. [...] Allowing readers to comment on the written entries makes it possible that conversation between the reader and the blogger, or between readers, can ensue.

Looking at weblogs in a communicative way we could therefore define a weblog as follows:

The weblog, or blog, is a webpage on which the author publishes pieces with the intention to start conversation.

This means that there are a few technical demands to be met to be able to speak of a weblog. First of all conversation must be possible. This is achieved through a comment function to enable dialogue within the same blog. To be able to track conversation through different weblogs one should have trackback functionality. To be able to use trackback every single entry needs to have an unique URL. Finally, to encourage people to read the weblog continuously one should offer a RSS or Atom feed.

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