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What are blogs and such and why should I care?

June 24th, 2006

You’ve probably heard by now the new buzzwords like blog, XML, syndication, RSS, CMS, and wikis. You may have even clicked on some site’s little orange XML or RSS button only to have a screen full of code thrown in your face.

It’s ironic that these less than intuitive acronyms and geek birthed tags give many people the impression of added complexity to the Internet. These new terms actually represent a paradigm shift in the Internet in the opposite direction – towards providing ease of use, and most importantly, usefulness to the average Joe or Jolene-not just geeks.

Secret Meanings Revealed

So what do all these terms that help define this new generation of the Internet commonly referred to as “Web 2.0” really mean to you?

They mean that you now have the ability to provide the internet community a web site or web publication that:

  • Always has current and relevant content.
  • Facilitates two-way interaction with your audience
  • Responds intelligently to visitors actions
  • Is easy to manage without a technical expert or expensive software
  • Becomes a platform for exponentially expanding your client base

Compare these features to the ubiquitous old school web site that is often full of stale information, offers only one way communication, is non-responsive, and requires software and/or technical expertise to update…and ultimately is of limited value to its owner and the web community as a whole.

In case you’re still curious about more specifics, here are some brief definitions of terms associated with Web 2.0:

Web 2.0: A general term emphasizing the evolution of the Web to an environment of real time communication, collaboration, and community.

Content Management System, CMS, Web Edit: A web site that allows a non-technical user to easily publish text, photos, and links by logging into to a database and adding the information from the Web in an intuitive word processor like interface. The information is then instantly updated on the web site.

Blog (Shortened name for web-log): A type of CMS system (see above) that is intended for periodical publication of information, such as commentary, or news. The unique identifiers of a blog from general CMS include the automatic archiving of articles/posts, the syndication of the posts through XML (see definition below), and the ability for visitors to post their own thoughts or comments.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language): A widely used and versatile protocol for encoding information and sharing it between diverse applications.

RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication): An XML based broadcast of a web site’s selected content. RSS enable content becomes syndicated, available for subscription and display on other web sites or RSS news readers.

RSS Feed: Refers to the originating source of information published through RSS. Comparable to the broadcasting tower of a TV station.

RSS Readers: Utilities that allow RSS feeds to be converted and displayed on web pages or in news feed aggregators (software that displays RSS feeds). Comparable to TV set displaying the broadcast of a TV station.

For more definitions associated with Web 2.0 see our Web 2.0 FAQs.

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