In addition to the frequency of updates, the thing that distinguishes most blogs from ordinary Web pages is the inclusion of forums for readers to post comments to which the blogger might respond. The degree to which dissenting views are tolerated depends on the publisher, but most Web sites must regularly prune “spam”—insertions of commercial and pornographic ads into the text of an apparent comment or the use of insulting and defamatory language. Trackback, an Internet function, facilitates communication by allowing bloggers to monitor who is reading and discussing their site. In turn, bloggers often post a “blogroll,” or a list of other blogs that they read and respect. Blogging is a conversational activity that seeks to create a community or reflect an existing community.

For a corporation, blogs can be used to advertise corporate products and practices and for two-way communication with consumers. For nonprofit entities such as charities, blogs allow officials to discuss their goals and actions in pursuit of a common end.

A growing phenomenon involves people who start blogs, often anonymously, to disparage someone or something that they dare not attack openly—such as their company, boss, school, or teacher—or to tilt at some organization that “done ’em wrong.” In several instances, individuals have lost their jobs when employers discovered their blogs.


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