The Stylistic Difference between a Blog Post and an Article
The Internet has had a major effect on the composition of short written pieces. Blog posts, which tend to be short, informally structured commentaries on current events, are occasionally confused with articles, which are more formally researched pieces with a clear structure. It’s important to understand the differences between the two pieces when writing.
Blog posts are usually written in the first person, although the dreaded second person “you” and occasionally the more objective third person are employed. Blog posts usually range between 200 and 700 words. Depending on the publication venue, the blog post may be centered on a particular theme or idea. As an example, a blog that is dedicated to politics will likely require every blog post to focus on some aspect of the political process. Because of the brevity of the format, a blog post rarely explores topics in a nuanced manner. Frequently, blogs are written to comment on an event that may have happened only a few hours or even minutes before. “Live blogging” is, as its name suggests, a kind of official forum for the stream of consciousness. Structurally, blog posts rarely bother to reinforce points made in previous paragraphs or sentences. While a single idea or point may be developed throughout the blog, traditional opening and closing paragraphs are rarely used.
Articles tend to employ a minimum of five paragraphs, with a clear opening and closing paragraph respectively introducing and then reinforcing the points of the article. Articles occasionally employ other stylistic devices, such as the use of an anecdote to engage reader interest at the beginning of the piece. In all cases, articles are based on thorough research and usually do not employ nearly as many off-the-cuff opinions as blog posts. While articles can also be written in the first or third person, they rarely rely as heavily on the personality of the author as blog posts do. It could be said that while some blogs have a writer’s “voice,” articles tend to be more straightforward, emphasizing factual research as opposed to personal opinion. In general, articles range from 400 to 3,000 words, depending on the depth and complexity of the topic.
Which Format is Best?
In general, articles will enable a writer to clearly communicate information without becoming mired in the sloppy structure or potentially limiting topicality of a blog. Articles also have a longer shelf-life. Blog posts are rarely referenced beyond their initial publication date. A writer who wishes to create a lasting impression should focus on crafting a well-researched article. However, blog posts can occasionally be the better choice, especially if a writer is attempting to engage in a debate on a contemporary topic. A blog post allows the writer to quickly comment on a topic without spending undue amounts of effort on crafting a more formal piece. In some rare instances, a particularly witty blog post can outlast even the most rigorously researched article. Ultimately, writers will benefit from experimenting with both formats.
© G.A. Robinson 2002-2018