Blogs vs Forums
In my article, “Forums
- Are They For You?”, I defined forums as an instrument used
to communicate, interact and collaborate with others (examples include
discussions, chat rooms, messaging windows, calendars). They save information
posted on a particular topic (not in real time) for other people to see
at any time, creating a discussion environment. Everything that gets posted
can be read again and again.
In my article, “Blogs
– A New Communication Tool That Is Growing in Popularity”,
blogs were defined as collections of articles, ideas, news, facts, opinions
or inspirations that are “posted” on the internet. They are
usually structured, organized by category and are updated often, if not
daily. The owner of the blog is able to control the content.
With both blogs and forums, you can post a comment and reply to other
comments, thus developing discussions. In both cases, you can leave comments
which may or may not be moderated and you may have to identify yourself
with a name and email address.
There are many differences and have been summarized in the chart below.
Some of the information for this chart was found on: www.commoncraft.com/archives/000768.html.
Creates a discussion on a particular topic by allowing
commenting of posts.
Posting or the content is the main purpose, not
|Discussion requires many participants
||Yes - forums are created for discussion between several
No - mainly designed for a single user input.
|Control of content (Authoring of New Topics)
All members usually have the ability to create new topics.
Allows for more emergent and unpredictable directions that may
reflect the group's desires as a whole.
New topics being presented by a defined and focused person or small
More unfocused - many contributors contributing
user-generated topics (a wider variety of content) with differing
Forums tend to create much more content, and will pull in traffic
on topics or phrases that never occurred to you.
More focused as blogs are written and edited by
a single author (or a small group).
Replies tend to be directed more to the primary author.
Group input, decision making, collaboration.
Accumulates group input and facilitates collaboration and group
Personal accounts, news, reflection.
Trusted individuals provide accounts of events and information.
(order and presentation of topics)
Posting of replies can govern the presentation of
the originating topic.
Topics with new replies are often presented at the top (but not
|Most recently posted topics at the top of the page,
regardless of new comments.
(How topics are archived and organized)
Discussions often presented in multiple places across
the online community and are archived independently.
The member chooses the appropriate location to post a new topic,
depending on subject matter.
Creates multiple “front pages”, spreading the presentation
of new topics across different locations in the community.
Topics are all presented on the weblog front page
and then archived into categories.
Each new topic is assigned to a category that is used to organize
the topics for future reference.
||Many short messages.
||Used more for posting longer messages.
Participation is explicitly requested by the poster. A discussion
is not a discussion without a reply.
The author does not need further participation to reach a goal - comment
if you want.
||Broader look at a larger number of members as they
interact with one another in a group setting.
||Can allow online community members to develop personal
connections with the webloggers relatively quickly.
|Communicate directly with other forum members online
through private messaging.
|Show who's online at a given time
|Provide statistical info, eg, how many comments
posted over what period of time.
|Notification whenever new or updated content is
(off-topic or inappropriate topics (or responses)
Must be managed closely to deal with spam
or flames (see definitions below).
Not able to turn off replies, but do prevent problems with moderation
of each new topic or response.
Can be unspammable or unflame-able by others without
loss of primary value.
Can turn-off comments.
|Ability to syndicate (republishing content
from one site to another) content to anyone who wants to receive it
||No, content is more “private”
||Yes, your content can appear on other blogs
(see definitions below)
|Most forums have not integrated tools used in blogs
||ability to read and link weblogs together. They include:
Trackback, RSS, Aggregation,
Permalinking, Cross linking
- A system by which another website (usually another blog) is notified
that their site has linked to it (usually within an article being
posted). The objective is to notify the subject of an article that
they have been mentioned in another article elsewhere. It allows a
blogger to see who has seen the original post and has written another
entry concerning it.
- RSS is a web content syndication format. The acronym stands for
Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. An RSS file (or “RSS
feed”) is a text file that usually contains details about the
most recent entries on a website. It doesn’t have any information
about colours, fonts, layout, or any other graphical issues. It’s
simply text in a standardised format. The purpose of RSS is to makes
it easy for one website to include a list of headlines from another,
a process known as “syndication.” The second use for an
RSS file is so people can read entries, or parts of entries, in an
RSS news reader. These are programs you run on your computer. You
tell it the addresses of RSS files you are interested in and it downloads
them. The program then displays the entry headlines, and maybe their
content, regularly fetching the latest version of the RSS file. People
use RSS news readers if they like to read lots of weblogs or news
sites because it makes the process much quicker — the person
no longer has to visit each site in turn, the latest entries are fetched
automatically, and the lack of graphics makes the process much quicker.
You can read more about RSS at www.webreference.com.
- An aggregator is a desktop or a Web application that can read and
display several feeds in a single interface.
- A link to a specific article in the archives of a blog, which will
remain valid after the article is no longer listed on the blog's front
page (i.e after it has archived).
- 'Spam' is unsolicited online messages generally of a commercial
nature, usually delivered as e-mail (i.e. virtual junk mail). Comment
spam however is when someone posts off-topic commercial remarks with
links in a blog's comment section.
- To 'flame' someone is to make a hostile intemperate remark, usually
of a personal nature. A hostile exchange of views via the Internet
characterised by highly intemperate language.
To see more blogging definitions, see: www.samizdata.net/blog/glossary.html.
Weblogs and forums are different enough to co-exist on the internet. Which
one you may integrate into your business depends on your time, energy
More information on:
– A New Communication Tool That Is Growing in Popularity
- Are They For You?