Saturday, October 06, 2007

An exaltation of larks, a blog of blogs

Strategies for posting regularly:

  1. Keep a notebook full of ideas.
  2. Don't travel.
  3. When you travel don't go to a home city with one horribly unreliable internet service.

Instead of a notebook I write on my hand and arm.
My grad student bank account helps me abide by #2
This weekend I broke rule #3--but the free food (provided by parents) and free dental (provided by sister) make it worth it.

I need a quick post to get keep the keypad from rusting. So...

The word blog has legs. It's doing everything necessary to stick around. It's as easily a verb as it is a noun. It's morphologically prolific. It's relevant to more and more conversations.

A recent plasticity I've noticed: When using 'blog' as a noun I've only used it to refer to a website that comprises (or is comprised of) entries that I refer to as either 'posts' or 'blog posts'. Lately I've seen several bulletins titled "New Blog" or "Read My New Blog". When I go take a look I realize that these people are simply letting everyone know that they've put a new post up on their old blog.

Is this an idiosyncratic usage that just happens to be favoured by several of my acquaintances--or have others noticed this ambiguity of the form more widely?


  1. No, I've noticed it to. For a lot of people a "blog" is anything they write, particularly I think if they're "blogging" on something with its own name, like Live Journal or MySpace.

  2. I think I agree with your usage, but I would go further. To blog about (x) can refer to the subject of a single post or it can refer to the general subject of the entire blog. If the verb blog is inflected for non-continuous aspect, then it's the former, like I blogged about that film or I think I'll blog about what my cat did today. But when the verb is continuous, it refers to the subject area of the entire blog, as in He blogs about... midwifery or I used to blog about rental market trends.

    I absolutely agree that when it comes to nouns, a blog is the entire site, an individual piece is a post. It makes sense to me, as it's ultimately derived from log, and you wouldn't say that one log is made up of individual logs, you'd say the individual pieces were log entries or something.

    And yes, I'm aware you can't really use diachronic evidence, especially since in the future it's conceivable that the verb log would have dropped out of existence altogether, with verby uses being auto-corrected to blog.

  3. I'd it's not just possible but likely that eventually blog will refer to offline writing.

    Blogging could easily take on a more general meaning of regularly updated writing or the act of doing such writing.

    The telicity of the verb blog does mess around with the sense of what the written 'blog' really is. I wouldn't say "I have written a blog" but I would say "I've been writing a blog" as easily as "I've been writing on a blog" or the more specially intended "I have written on a blog."

    I would probably use the first two to refer to the act of maintaining a blog without the sense of the individual posts while the third would refer to the act of writing individual posts--even if it was writing just one post--as a guest blogger for instance.

  4. I've noticed this usage too--blog meaning blog entry. I'm not one to prescribe usage, but the logic of it is akin to calling a diary entry a "diary", or a journal entry a "journal".

    "I write a journal every night" certainly sounds odd, where "I write a journal entry every night" or "I write in my journal every night". Likewise, I find "I write a blog every day" just as odd. But I'm not everyone.

    We'll see if it sticks. But it doesn't make sense to me, so I won't be using it, unless it becomes common usage. Kind of like how I'm almost ready to give in to saying "begs the question" to mean "raises the question". Jon Stewart does it. Weekend Update on SNL does it. Who am I to resist? I should write a blog (entry) about that. :)


Thanks for reaching out.

You can also contact me at wishydig[at]gmail[d0t]com.