If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck…guess what, it’s a duck.
A blog is a blog is a blog.
Not quite the same analogy, but you get the point.
Jakob Nielsen suggests that people write articles not blog posts. He differentiates them by saying that blog posts are often, “…quickly written, shallow postings”, while articles are, “…thorough, value-added content that attracts paying customers.”
Part of his argument is simply semantics, which I find generally pointless. David Armano, who does a great job writing “articles” and “blog posts”, has suggested that we don’t even use the term “blog” at all. It brings baggage with it from the days when blogs were mostly personal diaries.
OK, there’s some baggage, but the term also differentiates from other words that could be used. There will always be people who don’t get it; but if we’re constantly trying to massage or whitewash what we do in blogging for “everyone else” we lose some of the core value blogging brings.
- speed of publishing
- relationship building
I’d rather say, “I blog,” and help people understand what that means, versus “I’m a personal publisher” or “I write articles on the Web”.
Articles are meant for magazines, where the ability to respond is extremely limited. How many of us have written “letters to the editor?” Articles denote a certain finality — “I’ve written the definitive piece on X, end of story.”
Blog posts can be anything you want them to be – short, long, researched, opinionated, funny, serious, full of images, linked to everyone else, extensions of other conversations and ideas…
Matt Ambrose makes the point that content quality is key not whether you call it a blog post or article. Of course he’s right.
But Tony Hung is also right when he says that one or two off-quality posts won’t kill a blog, as Nielsen thinks.
Blogging is about experimenting, discovering what works for you and your audience. That might be a slew of one-line insights, or it might be a book-full of 40,000 word essays.
If we have to worry about calling blogs something else, and calling blog posts articles, what happens when we look at even “newer” means of publishing content and building business relationships. I can only imagine the debate on social networks and their role in business. (And trust me, there’s nothing to debate: Facebook, Twitter, etc. are business tools.)