Update: Mike, in my comments, thinks my headline is sensationalistic and says he didn’t say they aren’t blogs. We disagree on what a blog is, which is what this whole post is about so I changed it to say that I said that half of all Live Spaces aren’t blogs.
Mike Torres of the Live Spaces team just said that more than half of all Live Spaces are private. Um, Mike, you DO realize that private Web spaces are NOT blogs, right?
In a ThinkWeek paper, accepted by Bill Gates, and discussed with him before MSN even started publishing Spaces (more than two years ago), we (not just me, but MS researchers too) defined blogging as having five things:
1) Easy to do reverse-chronilogical content display. Type in a box and hit publish. New stuff goes at the top of the page. Old stuff moves down.
2) Discoverable. Through search engines (I listed Google, Technorati, MSN, Yahoo, and a few others). I specifically mentioned a ping server as infrastructure too, ala Technorati or Weblogs.com. IE, blogs are public. I would go as far as saying that a site that does not ping a pingserver, like weblogs.com, is NOT a blog (private Web sites don’t ping weblogs.com and are NOT discoverable by search engines).
3) Social. I can track when you link to me from another domain, either through search engines, through trackbacks, or through my referer logs. (I can’t be social with private cross-domain spaces).
4) Permalinkable. I can send you a link directly to a post. (I can’t do that with private spaces).
5) Syndicatable. I can use a news aggregator to read your content, which lets me read a lot more blogs. (I can’t do that with private spaces).
So, half of all Live Spaces are NOT blogs. They are something else. How about we make up a name for them? “Plogs.” Not to mention but “blogs” got their name from Pyra’s Blogger, which complies with all these things.
I feel so strongly about this stuff that we put this into our book as a common definition of why Blogging is hot. If your tool or service doesn’t comply with all five of these things it might be very cool (and there might be a LOT of them) but you shouldn’t be able to claim that they are blogs.