"Let’s get this straight up front: I am now writing a blog post, not blogging a blog," writes Forrest Wickman at Slate, the good people who brought you the great two-spaces-after-a-period debate. Oh yes. Oh yes. They are at it again, this time with a post in which he takes on the matter of what to call this thing we do.
This is a real thing people have been known to say, calling a blog post just a "blog," you see. Usually they are your grandma, or someone who hasn't been on the Internet for very long, or somehow, maybe, they just don't have the same canny ear sense as the rest of us. Or sometimes, maybe, their ears are a bit cannier. These people (Wickman cites Roger Ebert and Amanda Palmer as examples) say "I wrote a blog," not "I wrote a blog post." And this is wrong. A blog is the big thing, the umbrella you open to keep all the little posts below from getting rained on. You don't, actually, write blogs at all — blogs are created, often with the help of several or many people, and they often involve more than simply writing. All the wee children we put forth with our minds and typing fingers are our posts. They are written. They are not blogs.
Or, as Wickman writes, "No matter what dictionary you check—online, Urban, or otherwise—you will find no definition of blog that means blog post. Saying one to mean the other is like saying magazine when you mean article. The listener or reader may get your drift eventually, but only after they’ve been thrown for a loop." He points out too that it sounds funny, silly, awkward, and may undermine the genius of what you've written. "I wrote a blog about that," someone says, and you look at them as if they're Jessica Simpson asking whether her tuna is chicken (that's a reference as old as your first blog).
In the wise words of Wickman, "This is a blog post or a post or a blog entry. It is also a piece and an article. But it is not a blog."
But ... while on the face of things I agree with him and his blog, I do think that perhaps we've reached a time in which even saying "blog post" should be retired as well. It seems somehow dated, this two-word affectation for what is, basically, just writing a story, an article, a "piece." The need to define what that piece is based on the form in which it exists — I wrote a magazine article; I wrote a print book, I wrote a brochure column, I wrote a tabloid item — seems a little like something grandma would say, too. And there is the simple fact that the more you say "blog" and the more you say "post" the weirder both of those words begin to seem: blog, because, what heck is a blog? And post for much the same reasons. Post ... office? Post ... in the ground? Blog, of course, is short for Weblog, "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site." But are we all bloggers if we don't write blogs? What if we work for sites? What if we're just ... writers?
Blog. Blogggg. Blahhhhg. Blergh. Who's bloggin' now?
On the other hand, maybe there's something a little bit endearing, a little bit unpretentious and sweet and charming, about calling your blog post a blog. One thing is certain. As long as there is blogging there will be blog.
Image via Shutterstock by vesna cvorovic.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.