I know that writing this, I’m running the risk of becoming Old Man Natural, shaking my liver-spotted fist at those pesky young-uns ruining the English language.

But I’m willing to take that risk.

So let me issue the following PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

The word “blog” — short for “weblog,” remember? — is a noun that refers to a whole collection of articles.

If you read an article on someone’s website, and it’s a few paragraphs (or even a few sentences) long and it’s stamped with the time and date, that is not a blog. That is a post.

(Or, if you’re in Facebook, it’s a Note.)

The whole thing is the blog.

As with many social ills, I blame Myspace for this confusion, because they were the first major social networking site to confuse these meanings. In Myspace parlance, a “blog” is both the weblog as a whole AND the various posts that make up the blog.

Not only is that generally annoying and nonsensical for those among us still maintaining a tenuous grip on internet literacy in the age of Web 2.0, but it generally dilutes the meaning of the word.

This is the reason why we have words, so that people can understand and know what the hell we’re talking about.

If I say to my friend Chris Johnson, “hey, nice grapefruit!” he’s not going to know that by “grapefruit” I mean “blog post” and so he’ll be confused and not understand that I’m actually giving him a compliment on a well-reasoned post concerning civility amongst Christians in politics.

This is why I reserve the word “grapefruit” for softball-sized citrus fruits with pink insides and a tart aftertaste. Because that’s what everyone knows the word “grapefruit” to mean.

When someone sends me an email or makes a comment in passing over the phone or in person and says, “hey, I read your blog the other day, nice work!” I’m not really sure what they mean. Are they telling me that they enjoy my work overall, or was there a particular thing that I wrote that they liked that they’re complimenting me about?

And it’s all because lazy people decided to expand the use of the word “blog” into places where it doesn’t belong.

You know what it’s like?

Back in the early eighties, there was a really annoying cartoon called The Smurfs.

They were little purple people with saccharine storylines and dopey mannerisms. And their most annoying trait was their liberal use of the word “smurf” in their everyday conversations. Everything was smurfing this and smurfing that. The word “smurf” became their all-purpose, sentence-filling expletive.

Because of this, the word “smurf” had no meaning.

Not coincidentally, the show had little meaning either. Eventually it was canceled, and now it’s relived only in 80’s nostalgia T-shirts.

I love to blog. Obviously, I do it a lot.

And I like the word “blog” because it’s simple, and up until recently, everyone knew what it meant.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, then please… I beg you:

Don’t let blogging go the way of the Smurfs.

Let blogs be blogs, and posts be posts.

Thank you for your time. ]]>

Leave a Comment