October 26, 2011

Is This A Blog or An Article? ~ Anna Baldwin

Photo: alamodestuff

This is a blog. Just kidding, it’s actually an article. Or is it?

It doesn’t really matter if you know what this is exactly because the distinction between the two forms is so blurred in most cases that it might be impossible to tell.

Example: I write an article and then post it on my blog, and then I also talk about my blog in my articles. I then write a follow-up to the article and again post it on blog. The link to my blog is also at the end of each article, and the link to the article is included in the posting on my blog. It gets a little confusing.

What’s the difference anyway, and is there even a difference?

According to BlogHearald.com, Peter Merholz coined the term ‘blog’ from the longer version ‘weblog’ in 1999. Then later that year the first blog service, Blogger, was introduced online and blog use exploded in the next year.

The blog was used as a place to store thoughts and opinions much like an editorial column. Blogs were also used extensively as a Web portal for links to other web sites. Essentially, a blog was a place where a roundup of links to other articles or sites could be displayed in one location. The one common criteria of a blog in all cases was the use of dated entries like a diary, and this is still true in today’s blogging world.

Of course, articles have been around since the beginning of newspapers; in pamphlets, posters and books. Ezra Klein wrote an editorial for Washington Post in October 2010 on blogging and articles, and he writes that the main difference in the two is in the format of the writing.

The writing in an article is like a lecture. There is a beginning, middle and a conclusion, although not necessarily in that order. The most interesting information is smashed at the top because readers don’t stick around long enough to read the final sentence.

Photo: Lady Madonna

The quotes from extensive interviews with intriguing people are condensed into one-line quotations and scattered between the facts and statistics, and the length of an article is typically longer than a blog.

A blog on the other hand is part of a discussion on something where a writer doesn’t have to start at the beginning and all the information doesn’t have be there at one time. There are no space constraints and the excessive use of photos or art is not uncommon. A blog post might even be as short as a single quote or even made up exclusively of photos or videos.

Consequently, articles are aimed at drop-in readers needing all the information at one time and blogs are aimed toward regulars that expect short, frequent updates.

The purpose of the two are very similar, if not the same. Both are used to inform or entertainment readers with information, photos and video. Both can be considered ‘media,’ however, articles have real journalistic writing using the standard Associated Press style guidelines. Articles are (or should be) researched, unbiased and truthful, unless it’s an editorial, and blogs don’t have these such criteria.

Of course, some writers use blogs as the primary and only space for posting articles and interviews, and then we run into a problem. An article on a blog, so which is it? This is where the format needs to be taken into consideration again. If there’s dated entries, then it’s a blog even if it’s credible journalism.

Conclusively, the lines are too blurred to really make a complete distinction 100 percent of the time, but in the end, as long as the writing is coherent and useful, then I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway.


Anna Baldwin graduated from Colorado State University with a Journalism and Technical Communication degree, although she spent more time skiing than she did in class. She has written for more than five publications and the online entities on a variety of subjects, and some of her work has appeared on MSNBC.com and in Skiing Magazine. Some of her interests include biking, skiing, reading, cooking, slacklining, skiing, hiking and skiing. She lives in Boulder.


Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant journal  |  Contribution: 277,736