Is this an interesting question? What's the difference between a journal, a diary and a blog?

28 Comments

What was the question?

Wait, that's not a comment, that's a question.

I'll just say that "blog" sounds cooler than "diary." But as a technical matter, blogs, journals, diaries, they're probably all the same thing.

Aren't "journal" and "diary" more limited to the personal than "blog"?

I think that how widely you want them searchable or read is one important axis...

It is a genre question. Is a book fantasy or science fiction? A mystery or a thriller?

They are all books (it is the same technology). The genres blur.

They are distinguished for reasons of marketing or tribalism or critical analysis.

This is the answer I give when someone asks me:

A blog is a log on the web, also known as weblog.

I think it's actually not a very interesting question, since it's been discussed interminably since the word "blog" was coined with no generally-accepted resolution.

I generally see "journal" and "diary" as roughly the same thing; reflections on the personal events of one's life, the interior life. A blog may be considered more outward looking, perhaps reflections on life in general, or one's exterior life. Place these two definitions at endpoints on a continuum and I think you'll find that almost every site that calls itself one of these things falls somewhere in between. The terms are perhaps useful as Platonic ideals, but not so much for defining what's actually going on out here.

The answer depends on the perspective of the answerer.

To some, a blog is a journal, diary. And, perhaps in the purest since that is true.

Step back, and the information, the data you "journalize" becomes knowledge -- once patterns in the information recorded are discerned.

Coming from a "learners" perspective, a blog is an encyclopedia - dynamic, providing information, and sometimes knowledge.

Yet another perspective shows a blog to be a voyearistic experence.

The engineer in me wants to consider blogs as a micro content management tool which when plugged into the network can create the "brain" of connected knowledge cells for a corporation, organization, or social group.

A blog is many things. Let's not get hung up on sematics. Let's appreciate the possibilities.

I recently wiped my blog clean because it had turned into a diary. I think blogs are less introspective and more about the world at large. That's just by interpretation anyway.

I recently wiped my blog clean because it had turned into a diary. I think blogs are less introspective and more about the world at large. That's just my interpretation anyway.

Imho, a blog is an 'opinion point' in a System (no matters about contents and style). The system have his own rules that we can describe perfectly (i tryed to do it in some articles for an italian review some time ago). You cannot define a single blog, because a single blog is just 'not more' a blog. Blog are 'blogs'. More: reading blogs is not reading single authors, bur just have a 'collective experience' of point of views..

BLOG seems to be a technical way of performing a homepage, judging from the blogs that I visit. It is also an "easy way of commenting" which makes some blogs a rather dull repeatation of the medias already reather dull mainstream of stories.

Others work the same way as you would throw comments and questions into a chat between friends or colleagues. I think this blog here is an example of something like that. It also contains reflections as well as original questions (original=not a reflection to a news cast but an idea that originated from the author of the blog).

Ito's question "what is money" is a good example of an original question. It comes from the hearth (or thereabout) and make interesting reading, thoughts and comments.

Other again are purely original, dealing with whatever subject.

A dirary would normally be something one writes for one self. Then later published for all to read in some cases. Anne Frank for example.

I have also been recommended keeping a diary as the director of a company, making it easier for ones follower to learn how things was done and what was the history of the job. Not bad idea.

A journal would be a chronological, or some system like that, recording of knowledge, events, etc.

My own homepage was established in 1996 as either one of these as it was just a matter of telling friends and family what happened in our life. I was too busy telling them, and other friends I would only meet every 5 years or so. If anything I think a journal would be the closest description.

Frankly I think the blog, journal, diary can be as broad as any communication on the net. I also recently saw a blog with stories of a guys sexual experiences (big sex parties). No pictures, no commenting, no names. Just stories. One could call that novels..? But using a blog technology to publish it.

Joi Ito sucked into own navel, takes 11 innocent readers with him.

I second Adina Levin. Without a context to the question, it is meaningless.

A "blog" is a four letters word with a value of 7 points in Scrabble.

Have a nice day :D

No, it isn't an interesting question

Au contraire: it IS a interesting question, nowadays. It's a question for reflection. I agree with Giuseppe Granieri. A blog is a node of a network, just like a cell is a node of the brain. Got the picture?

A journal or a diary is a blog without the hype. Alternative, a blog is a journal or a diary but it's more cool.

They're all the same things. Because your defining it based upon the site of hosting which doesn't really matter. I've seen livejournal sites that are more informative and explore more worldly events than most blogs. I've also seen some Moveable Type installs that are more journalish than even the worst LJ/diaryland account.

So basically, its semantics thats meaningless. It matters only from the writers perspective. The author with identify it with their voice, you can't go based upon a hosted location.

However, you could base it upon content. Then there would be some small differences between a journal/diary and a blog.

Apologies for dragging you into my navel. I was tired when I blogged this entry. I had just attended a session where we were trying to define what a blog was and I wasn't sure whether it was a useful question and if it was, what the definition was.

No worries Joi. You did what a little girl (11 years old) I know use to do: when she as a doubt, she makes an entry in her blog, as if it was a puzzle, and someone will provide her the right anwser :) Her father calls their readers, "our googlies".

I think you've got an anwser: he have "blog - the tool" and he have "blog - the brain network".

Some blogs are diaries.

Some blogs are newsletters.

The difference is function, not form.

The key distinction is whether you are *primarily* writing for yourself, or for others.

One good question to ask - if you had *no* readers, would you still do it?

"Yes" tends to mean diary, "no" tends to mean newsletter.

One more criteria... I tend to think that blogs link often to both blog and non-blog webpages. Diaries and journals, if they link at all, tend to link only to other diaries or journals.

I think the difference is primarily one of audience. Diaries, historically, have always been about the author; other readers were
locked out, literally.

Blogs have a native desire for audience. That's why we reach out (or, in many cases, in) to other sites and try to add commentary that's insightful. (Whether we succeed most of the time is an exercise left to others.)

Journals (as defined by LJ and AOL Journals) appear to split the difference: the subject is usually always author-centric, and often uninteresting to all but the author's inner circle. Outside of celebrities, journals won't find themselves reaching out like blogs do.

I can generally draw a bright line between blog and journal, and I think that's only going to get brighter as time goes on. To steal a corner from Virginia Postrel, blogs say "I like this," and journals say "I'm like this."

Wow. My navel has a freckle on it.

Just want to share: Something from Googlism on what a blog is...

blog is finally up silver
blog is a posted december 01
blog is about all of the various british novels i am reading this semester
blog is dead void infiniteloop
blog is his "various ramblings" centered around the web
blog is working again those of you that have tried to use the blog for the past week or so have been unable to make a posting
blog is a web page that serves as a publicly
blog is "greened" ok
blog is for me i decided to create a separate
blog is an automatic web logging program which allows you to update your site easily without the hassles of html editing and having to use a separate program
blog is going on??? wednesday
blog is on blog*spot
blog is up *yay* jr's blog is up and running
blog is my voice sunday
blog is back and my blog is back and at the same address
blog is often referred to as a blogger
blog is a web log

Just want to share: Something from Googlism on what a blog is...

blog is finally up silver
blog is a posted december 01
blog is about all of the various british novels i am reading this semester
blog is dead void infiniteloop
blog is his "various ramblings" centered around the web
blog is working again those of you that have tried to use the blog for the past week or so have been unable to make a posting
blog is a web page that serves as a publicly
blog is "greened" ok
blog is for me i decided to create a separate
blog is an automatic web logging program which allows you to update your site easily without the hassles of html editing and having to use a separate program
blog is going on??? wednesday
blog is on blog*spot
blog is up *yay* jr's blog is up and running
blog is my voice sunday
blog is back and my blog is back and at the same address
blog is often referred to as a blogger
blog is a web log

Back in grade school, before making these things public, only girls had diaries. Boys that liked to do that kind of thing would call theirs a journal.

Maybe you shouldn't ask what's the difference but what's the similarity! A blog is just a tool... a multifunctional tool!

Talvez devas perguntar é qual a diferença mas qual a semelhança! O blog é apenas uma ferramenta... uma ferramenta multi-funcional

Pardon my french!!

Does it really matter?

Words are used to identify and differentiate. Blog, journal, and diary identify recordings (ie, logging) of events, things, or thoughts: diary is a daily log, and journal is, at root, French for recording something "daily", and a blog records on the web. The "daily" aspect is not so important any more as it might have been in the "old days" when most people kept diaries of the days of their lives or the contents of their larders. These words differentiate not in content-- which can be personal or technical, written or audio-visual-- so much as context. A blog differentiates a web based form of a journal or diary. Let the linguists haggle over the subtleties between a journal and a diary!

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What is a Blog? from Displacement of Concepts
September 18, 2004 7:53 PM

I know this question has been asked continuously since blogging started, but I wonder if we've gotten anywhere with it. Is it even useful to speak about "blogging" or "weblogs" as discrete forms of communication? What is required for something to be a ... Read More

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