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Everything now officially a blog
Wednesday, May 14, 2008   4:35 PM

Internet jargon; if used, explain that it means 'Web log' or 'Web journal'

There. There is it, the stylebook entry that the AP removed several years ago, when blog "become so common and so much a part of the language that it was no longer necessary."

The distinction between "blog means Web log" (true) and "blog is short for Web log" (untrue) is a subtle one, I get it. Maybe, if the AP entry had been a little more clear, copy editors would be going after that phony etymology like so many improper uses of the word podium.

What I don't understand is why here, now, in May of 2008, you're all using blog like some sort of catch-all for "anything written on the Internet."

(See that capitalized Internet? I did that for you. I'm sorry that I seem so angry right now.)

I've seen this many times before, but here's the lede that set me off today:

Burger King said Tuesday it fired two employees following the disclosure that an executive secretly posted blogs slamming a farmworker advocacy group.

The rest of the story ("Burger King fires 2 after blog controversy") doesn't mention blogs, just postings. Which is appropriate, because blogs were not involved in any way. It turns out that all the statements in question were made in comment threads.

Bloggerheads has a great roundup of what probably happened. Misusing blog is bad enough, but here are some useful words that should have been in the AP piece: comment, sock-puppeting, YouTube.

So how do you spot a blog? Definitions vary, but nowadays it's almost universally accepted that on a blog, content will be arranged in reverse-chronological order, i.e. with new stuff at the top. For much, much more on defining the weblog, check out my increasingly outdated master's thesis.

Or, here's a neat trick: substitute Web log for blog in your article. If you can't, you're probably misusing the word blog.

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I feel perfectly comfortable being pedantic about the use of "blog." People do not write blogs; they write blog posts or blog entries. I have a feeling this is going to turn into a losing battle pretty quickly, though.

Oof. Yeah, the "individual blog posts are not blogs" battle is not going well, not at all. We have to win "comments and forum posts aren't blogs" before we can even advance to that area of the battlefield.

I wonder if the next, tech-savvy generation of editors will do a better job with this.

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