A Blog Post Is Not a Blog

BlogA pet peeve of mine is the improper usage of the term blog. I find that many use blog to refer to a blog post (a.k.a. blog article, blog entry, or blog posting). For example, “I wrote a blog that I think you might enjoy reading.” Or, “In my previous blog, I explained how this concept is used in the Old Testament.” In both cases, the writer is referring to a specific blog post, not his entire blog. From what I can tell, this is incorrect.

Blog, of course, is a shortened form of weblog (formerly web log). A weblog is a category of website. The Concise OED defines it as “a personal website on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.”1 The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “a website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings.”2

It seems fairly clear—at least to me—that the only appropriate use of the term blog (as a noun) is in reference to a blog site, not a blog post.

I feel better now.

Footnotes

  1. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, “Weblog,” Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  2. Cf. Merriam-Webster.

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22 Responses to A Blog Post Is Not a Blog

  1. Joe Miller February 6, 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    Mia culpa…

    Of course the proper way to say this would be “I wrote a journal entry or a blog entry”

    However, since when did people pay attention to the proper use of a term? Is this not the same as people who keep a personal journal and then say, “I journaled about XYZ.” ?

  2. Garrett February 7, 2008 at 12:14 am #

    Hi Phil! While I agree with you, I wonder if one of the reasons for the meaning-creep is that the word is also used as a verb. Someone might say that they “blogged” about a topic, which has led to the noun “blogger”. If someone “blogs” about a topic it does not imply creating a brand new blog on the topic, but merely a new post. So yes, a blog is the site and/or journal itself and not the entry, but I think the ambiguity is understandable.

  3. Joe Miller February 7, 2008 at 12:40 am #

    I just spent the last hour correcting all the times I made this error on my site… WOW… I was really bad!!!!

  4. Chris Anderson February 7, 2008 at 6:04 am #

    Great blog, Phil. The blog on Titus was great, too.

  5. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    Garrett, I’m not convinced that the imprecision can be so easily justified. :) Blog as a verb means to “add new material to or regularly update a weblog” (COED). So to blog on a topic means to write about a topic on one’s blog site in a blog post. :)

  6. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    Chris, why was I not surprised to read your comment? :)

  7. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Joe, thanks for your transparency. :)

  8. J Gons February 7, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Phil,

    I think you’re a bit too overboard on this one. Just as web log was shortened to blog; blog is commonly used as a shortened version of blog post, using the adjective (blog) and an understood noun.

    Language evolves. Common usage leads that evolution. In this case, common usage is going to win out.

    Anyway, I have to go blog on my blog. Later.

  9. J Gons February 7, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This
    blog (blŏg) Pronunciation Key
    n. A weblog.

    intr.v. blogged, blog·ging, blogs
    To write entries in, add material to, or maintain a weblog

  10. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    Blog as a synonym for blog post may eventually catch on and become standard usage and therefore meaning, but that doesn’t mean it is presently correct. Dictionaries are the determiner for what is considered correct, and no dictionary that I’ve seen supports the usage, which I think is a minority. In my experience, most offenders have been from the older generation and don’t know much about blogging.

    Your citation from American Heritage confirms exactly what I’m saying. Blog as a noun refers to the site, not an entry on the site. Blog as a verb means to add content to a blog site.

    I agree that usage wins the day. That’s why I say email rather than e-mail and website rather than web site or Web site. But, both email and website are standard in most dictionaries (cf. COED). Let me know as soon as blog appears in the dictionaries with the meaning of blog post, and I’ll change my take on the proper use of of the term. :)

    BTW, your statement, “I have to go blog on my blog” is perfectly accurate and accords exactly with proper usage and dictionary definition. Thanks for helping to promote proper usage. Now if you had said, “I have to go write a blog on my blog,” you would have been incorrect.

  11. Tom February 7, 2008 at 6:01 pm #

    Perhaps we should call a blog post a blop. weblog=blog; blog post = blop. From now on I will refer to my blops or as some would frame it, “In my former blop Theophilus I wrote about…”

  12. Joe Miller February 7, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    You have your work cut out for you Phil. I just heard a Michael Medved on the radio today say that he “posted a blog” today. He is apparently corrupting the world… maybe you should write him.

    PS
    I still feel better having fixed by blog entries :-)

  13. JGons February 7, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    I wasn’t trying to be funny. I know how to use it.

    BUT dictionaries are always going to be behind usage, obviously. I’m just saying be open to other opinions than your own :)

    And if you look at the Urban Dictionary (an ever changing, sometimes crass and occasionally insightful, culturally-relevant, common-usage source on the web and in book form), I pretty sure they have it like this.

  14. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    Sure, dictionaries are behind the usage, but that doesn’t mean that the usage is correct yet. For usage to be considered correct, it needs at least one dictionary to recognize it.

    I’m open to other opinions. But I’ve yet to hear any good justification (or any justification, for that matter) for why using blog for blog post might be a good idea. We need more precision, not less, in our language.

    But, again, the issue was not so much what should the correct terminology be, but what presently is the correct terminology.

  15. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    Tom, nice proposal. Start using it, and we’ll see if it catches on.

  16. Phil Gons February 7, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    Joe, thanks for notifying me. I’ll be sure to sure to call Michael and set him straight first thing in the morning. Just more proof for my theory that this is primarily coming from the older crowd. ;)

  17. JGons February 8, 2008 at 7:17 am #

    No seriously, Urban Dictionary: It was post 13 when I checked. :)

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=blog&page=2

  18. Phil Gons February 8, 2008 at 7:24 am #

    The name and date on that entry look strangely suspicious! ;)

  19. JGons February 8, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    Ha. I could have put something less suspect, but I thought you’d appreciate that.

    But it now in a dictionary. Even if it is an Urban Dictionary that is EASY to change :)

  20. Ryan M February 9, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    This pet peeve is also one of mine. An additional and related issue is that of referring to the whole blogosphere as a blog. Someone recently titled a blog post, “Around the Blog in 80 Seconds.” This did not refer, as the title suggests, to a summary of his own blog’s high points, but rather, as one might guess, to all that is happening in the world of blogs. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogosphere)

    I liked the point you made in this comments section, Phil: “We need more precision, not less, in our language.” Quite right.

  21. Phil Gons February 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm #

    Nice to have someone chime in in agreement. Thanks, Ryan! Figures we’d see eye to eye on this issue. :) Thanks for pointing out the other interesting use of blog. Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing that on Thabiti Anyabwile’s Pure Church blog. Looks like he does an “Around the Blog in 80 Seconds” post fairly often. I guess he needed a one syllable word, so blogosphere wouldn’t do. And another misuse of blog is born. :)

  22. David Davidson March 13, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Phil, I couldn’t agree more. :)

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