I thought it ironic that the subject question popped up on another .edu weblog just a few short days after I was exchanging an opinion on the matter with an NCSU colleague.
I like their quoted answer better, but here was mine:
> That's an interesting question. I haven't really stopped to think about it > much until framing something to respond with. > > Weblogs are an extension of the personal webpage, usually presented using > some technology tool or system that makes it a little easier to keep > updated - and the most common way of publishing and receiving updated data > is time-based - which is why they end often being like a diary/journal - > though I have seen essay sites that are like blogs, but the author(s) go > back and edit previously published content, either to keep it updated or in > a kind of "revisionist history" mode. The Weblog is usually all about the > author of the site and their personality/experience. Or in cases where > there is a shared or community blog, it becomes like a recurring > newsletter/news site/magazine of sorts, governed again by the personalities > of the publishers (which is why many in the so-called "blogosphere" are > pushing the idea of blogs as new-media/new journalism). In a way, there > have been some powerful journalistic-esque things that have resulted. > Individuals theoretically inside IRAQ blogging as the war started, Chinese > bloggers writing clandestine accounts of life inside China, very Anne > Frank, though now published immediately. Voices are coming out of > corporate entities, creating either a perception of accessible > organizations (or ones having problems, which is getting some of the > bloggers fired). > > Blogs, like personal homepages, usually have a custom look and feel when > you visit the site, and usually a unique voice of the individual writing > the content for the site. > > While many do have comments, and the comment threads on high-traffic blogs > do become very similar to a bulletin board - a virtual, but fixed space > where people congregate in discussion, there's usually not much of a > conversation happening at the site of the blog. Instead there's more of a > reference model of individual sites linking to another site - very much > like a continuously updated personal web page. Collection sites (like > http://www.technorati.com/ have sprung up, providing an aggregated view > of the content, links, subjects of the weblogs, which tends to highlight > pop subjects among the blogs informing those collection sites of updates. > But those collection sites don't really have discussion on the pop subject, > more they act as clearinghouses to find subjects that are being discussed > by the individuals). > > Writers of blogs tend to expound more than bulletin boards (e.g. TheWolfWeb > [ed. a student-run bulletin board off campus], which I think is an > example of the traditional bulletin board, where most of the threads > consist of one-two sentences comments or provocations ;-) or responses > to such) blog entries are usually longer.