Updated January, 2011
Blogs, one-time sweet darlings of the political internet world. I can still remember the first time I figured out what a blog WAS, back in the spring of 2003 (I was at South by Southwest, listening to a presentation and no doubt recovering from a hangover).
Okay, so what IS a blog? At one level, blogs are just websites that are easy to update — and simply because blogs are such convenient publishing tools, people use blogging software for all kinds of applications that don’t involve sharing body parts or secrets with strangers,. But the more common conception of a blog is a site that’s frequently updated and that is the personal product of one or more authors. It can be a diary, an op-ed column, a corporate house organ, a community center, an outlet for art, photography, fiction or investigative journalism, a place of philosophical musing or a venue for shameless self-promotion (hello, e.politics!).
Most political blogs function as opinion columns, though some do feature what looks suspiciously like original journalism. The biggest, like Daily Kos or RedState.org, particularly if they have a variety of columnists and allow comments from readers, become the center of entire online communities. A common approach is for a blogger to discuss a story from the mainstream media or from another blog, with readers contributing their own opinions as comments.