Blogs and Forums - A Big Difference
But Plainfielders also take part in online forums, such as the ones set up by the Star-Ledger for residents of each hometown or county. These are open discussions, almost always with anonymous comments using nicknames. They tend to be fractious and gossipy, though sometimes factually informative. (At least one Plainfield blog is based on rumors and hearsay, which may be part of the confusion.)
Online forums tend to full of what Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III calls "noise," provocative comments that don't advance the discussion, but merely prolong it. Tonight a couple of us bloggers beseeched Dr. Gallon not to call forums "blogs," but to distinguish the work of one person blogging from the cacophony of voices in an online forum.
A person as busy as Dr. Gallon need not spend time every day checking out the Plainfield forum on nj.com, but one fast look might make the difference between a blog and an online forum quite evident.
Webopedia notes that "blog" is a shortened version of "web log," a journal by one person, often with daily postings. In the case of Plaintalker, putting together a post often means attending a meeting, taking notes, doing research at City Hall and writing something that informs the residents on issues related to the taxes they pay or the decisions of their elected officials. On the other hand, anyone can flip off on a forum with smart remarks and insinuations.
PEPTalk blogger Renata Hernandez and I both urged Dr. Gallon tonight to investigate the difference. And may all other readers please not tarnish bloggers by associating them with the worst behavior of online forum users.