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What is a blog?  
By Neil Shumate  
Published 12.7.09

As we launch the OOTBLOGS section of the home page, I briefly examine what a blog is.  

“Blog” is a condensed word for “web log.”  A blog is considered to be an “online diary.”  Status updates
on Facebook and tweets on Twitter are considered to be “microblogs.”

In some forms blogs may be seen as an enemy: unstructured journalism with avoidance of the “being
objective” rule of thumb. President Barack Obama
expressed his concerns: “I am concerned that if the
direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to
put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but
not a lot of mutual understanding.”

Citizen journalists and bloggers have become a reliable source for daily news—locally, nationally and
globally.  Blogs can be a place for readers to turn in hopes of finding news and information without the
backing of specific partisan brands.  

Blogs may be blurred with the popular titles of “editorial,” “column” or “commentary.” Blogs take on
different forms:  written, audio, video, photography.  Blogs take on different styles:  personal diaries, stories
written in gonzo style, random rants, opinions on specific topics or genres.   

All-in-all blogging is often subjective opinion that is influenced by hot topics, culture and life.  It’s free
speech without rules and without fear of censorship.  Of course bloggers may choose to follow rules and
act responsibly without name calling and provide support for their opinions—in the world of blogging, it’s
the choice of the blogger to abide or disobey and take the consequences of liability and defamation.  In the
same way that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supports individual rights and liberties, the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) supports bloggers’ rights.

I recently downloaded the
Kindle for PC.  Most books are $10 or less, and classic literature is often
downloadable for free.  So far, no drawbacks. However, my computer monitor won’t quite reach the
comfort of my couch.  

As the end of year holiday season is here, I hope for everyone to have or find a place like this.
“My main luxury in those years – a necessary luxury, in fact – was the ability to work in and out of my
home-base fortress in Woody Creek. It was a very important psychic anchor for me, a crucial grounding
point where I always knew I had love, friends & good neighbors.  It was like my personal Lighthouse that I
could see from anywhere in the world – no matter where I was, or how weird & crazy & dangerous I got,
everything would be okay if I could just make it home.  When I made that hairpin turn up the hill onto
Woody Creek Road, I knew I was safe.”
-- Fear and Loathing in America, Hunter S. Thompson