What is a blog and how can they be used?

As part of the KNOWvember blog event on Knowledge Hub we thought it would be a great idea to go back to the basics of blogging to explain what they are, how they are used and the benefits and sometimes downsides of blogging

What is a Blog?

A Weblog (also known as a web log or a ‘blog’) is a regularly updated web page, where each item is presented in reverse chronological order, with the latest at the top. They are easy to create and use. A blog is a form of web publishing that has become an established communications tool.

Blogs are normally seen as personal journals of your thoughts/ideas/opinions. You can think of your blog as your own personal forum on which you set up all the forum topics. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs and web pages. Most blogs are primarily textual although some focus on photographs (photoblog), videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting).

 

How can blogs be used?

There are many work practices that can accommodate the use of blogs

  • Reporting back from an event or conference – everyone likes to know what happened at an event or conference. Instead of just letting your team or close colleagues know you can now tell a wide range of people, who were unable to attend and look for further discussion from people who did.

  • Topical blog – concentrate on a particular specialised topic. Using links to news or articles and personal opinions.

  • Track your development over time – one of the biggest benefits of a blog is the ability to track your thoughts chronologically. You can follow the stream of thought as it develops over a period of several months. It gives you the facility to store ideas and articles with personal commentary. It also reminds you to get back to goals that deserve more attention.

  • Clarify your ideas through writing – the best way to determine if you understand a concept is to try explaining it to someone else. Similar to a journal, a blog forces you to crystallise your thoughts in writing. This clarifies the ideas floating around in your head and makes them more permanent.

  • Feedback – probably the most useful part of a blog is the feedback. When readers tell you how and why they disagree. Frequently, others will think about a question from a perspective that you never considered. This will help you identify weaknesses in your reasoning and in turn develop a better understanding.

 

What are the benefits of using blogs?

Blogs are one of the Key features of the Knowledge hub. This is because individuals, organisations and corporations have realised the benefits of this form of communication. Blogs can:

  • Engage people in knowledge sharing, reflection, and debate. They often attract a large and dedicated readership.

  • Providing authors and readers with an avenue for unedited expression, reaction, and connection, without the censorship of mediated chat rooms or formal media outlets.

  • The simplicity of creating and maintaining blogs means that open discussions can be established almost immediately, making blogs an ideal venue for far-reaching discussions among the online community on new or timely topics.

The Knowledge Hub provides a safe place to try blogging out. If you make your blog posts chatty and informal, it will encourage others to contribute to your conversation.

 

What are the downsides?

  • As blogs are often produced and maintained by individuals, they can include biased or inaccurate information.

  • Users visiting a blog might see it as factual or authoritative when, in fact, it is the online equivalent of a soap box: a place to speak and to be heard.

  • Intellectual property is another area of concern, given the implications of hosting blogs that might include content that has been used without proper attribution.

  • Blogs aren’t ideal for creating collaborative documents, as only the blog post author can change its content. Suggestions can be made in the comments, but a wiki is still the best place for such projects.

 

Want to find out more Knowledge Hub’s Blogging month and how to get involved? Check out Make #KNOWvember a month to remember.

 

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