Blog Excerpts

A Singular Blog

A new usage of the word blog is emerging, and not everyone is happy about it. As Grant Barrett writes on the blog of the Copyediting newsletter, for some people blog can now mean "a single, dated, first-person post on a web site" rather than "an entire site of such posts." But according to an informal survey, most copy editors aren't on board with the new meaning.

In a post entitled "A Singular Blog," Barrett writes:

A few years ago on my own blog I posted a mini-rant about improper use of blog.

I complained, in short, that some people use blog to mean a single, dated, first-person post on a web site. Others use it to mean an entire site of such posts.

That first use doesn’t seem right. To me, a blog is an entire site or section of a site, not a single day’s entry.

At the time Jorn Barger—an early blogger and coiner of the word weblog—responded and said he didn’t mind the usage. Ben Zimmer, now language columnist at the New York Times, also responded and said, “If Jorn Barger can live with it, who are we to quibble?”

Despite those two fine fellows and their opinions, my mind wasn’t—and isn't—changed.

Barrett then offered up a survey to find out what Copyediting readers thought of the new usage. The results of the survey show overwhelming opposition to the use of blog to mean a single post.

What do you think? Is this new use of blog acceptable or abominable?

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Comments from our users:

Wednesday April 28th 2010, 2:43 AM
Comment by: Winston D.
I vote for "blog" meaning a site with many entries, with a singular entry being a post. Example: I posted my opinion about Time Frames last Thursday on my blog.
I think of the word "blog" as being similar to the words "journal" and "diary."
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 3:19 AM
Comment by: Paul K (Basingstoke United Kingdom)
Interesting article - I find myself agreeing with Winston. It would seem that new words and/or meanings relating to the worlds of computing and social media are springing up at an ever increasing rate, but their origins (such as 'blog' from 'weblog') are not known by most of the words' users. And some words are so new they haven't made it into the dictionaries - printed or electronic. But perhaps it was always thus...
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 7:23 AM
Comment by: ThomasK
I am not a native speaker but I would also consider 'blog' to be referring to the site.
The point is, however: what do you call a single, dated contribution then? Do you have a word in English? Could you say a 'log'? I guess not, but then someone ought to come up with a short 'creative' word, I suppose... ยดยด-)
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 8:15 AM
Comment by: Tom W. (New York, NY)

Winston has your answer. One entry in a blog is called a post.
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 9:17 AM
Comment by: Erin B. (Haverhill, MA)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
A single entry is a "post." Many entries make up a "blog."
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 10:23 AM
Comment by: nannywoo (Wilmington, NC)
But what about the use of blog as a verb? I find myself asking students to "blog about today's discussion" just as we've come to call writing in a journal "journaling" (although I just got the dreaded red underlining of "journaling" as a misspelled word). But more often I ask them to "post" on their blogs, and maybe for a fresh perspective, I'll be more aware and start asking them to post on their WEB LOGS. The idea of a "web log" conjures up images of journeys on sailing ships or the star ship Enterprise. Nothing like remembering word origins to freshen our perspectives. Joyce
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 10:41 AM
Comment by: nannywoo (Wilmington, NC)
I forgot to vote in my previous post. I vote for blog to mean the whole thing--just as a ship's log would be the book in which the captain writes a summary of daily events. One day's writings in the blog would be an "entry" or a "post" for me. But more often I would use "post" as the verb. Therefore, "post an entry in your blog" would work best for me.
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 10:57 AM
Comment by: Aileen G.
A post is a single, dated entry published on a blog. I'm an online journalist, and most of the confusion appears to stem from people who don't read blogs, but hear about them via other popular media. Jorn Barger may not mind, but a whole lot of other people bristle at using "blog" and "post/entry" interchangeably.
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 11:35 AM
Comment by: Adam G. (Concord Canada)
I guess only time and use will tell! But Joyce makes an excellent point: the verb "to blog" points to writing an entry on a blog. Saying, "I blogged today", might mean that I wrote one or several posts on a blog. I don't like "blog" as a single post. It's awkward and, more importantly, confusing. I don't really like "to blog" as a verb either. It's just an ugly word in general in my opinion. I wonder, though, whether we'll even talk about blogs in the nearish future, or is the blog a sort of waypoint on the path to some future mode of communication?
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 1:07 PM
Comment by: Deborah F. (West Chester, OH)
I see Joyce's point but have to put my vote with the word "blog" to remain a noun and shortened form of web log. The connotation being many entries or posts. Rather than moving into the usage of "blog" as a verb I agree that it would be clearer to use "post" to mean the act of submitting an entry into a blog. Good discussion points above!
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 2:47 PM
Comment by: Rocket
I like blog for a single entry as well as the collection of posts. "Post" harkens back to the era of bulletin boards and thumb tacks. As bit is to byte, what about coining a new term that relates to the advancement in technology and evolution in communication media. Some possiblities include "blig" or "blag" or "bloog" for a single posting on a blog. Example sentence: I posted bloogs on several blogs today. Blogging is already an accepted term, so I'd keep it as opposed to blooging. Or should that be bloogging?
Wednesday April 28th 2010, 8:29 PM
Comment by: Nick N. (Brooktondale, NY)
Agreed that, aurally, "blog" is clumsy. For that reason I recoil a little at follow-ons like Rocket's suggestions. Of course, they'd add humor to discourse, which is often good. But, to the point at hand, I feel "blog" as a collection of posts (or postings) is correct. It is just as correct, however, as the act of adding such a post to such a collection. This puts it in strange territory, where the noun and verb are removed from each other in a very specific way. So, I can see why "blog" might gain traction as a synonym for "post," but in the end, I don't have to like it.
Thursday April 29th 2010, 8:59 AM
Comment by: Erin B. (Haverhill, MA)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
Joyce brings up a good point. I think of the act of blogging as writing posts over time. I have been thinking it's strange to post a post; I can post to my blog. I can publish an individual post, and I can publish a blog (a collection of posts). Do I blog about this event or that? I suppose I do, but it sounds vague to me. If I blog about it, do I publish just one post about that topic or do I publish posts about it on an ongoing basis?

They're all concepts that are still developing. Hence, the language will develop with the ideas. It's fascinating to watch!
Thursday April 29th 2010, 10:47 PM
Comment by: Neal WhitmanVisual Thesaurus Contributor
I don't like the usage of blog to mean a single blog post, and am always disconcerted by it. But this ambiguity notwithstanding, the existence of blog with this meaning is a result of morphological precedents. From blog the original noun, we get blog the verb, as noted above, which is vague between writing one post or writing many, but so are verbs like scrapbook. From blog the verb we get blog the identical-sounding noun meaning the result of an action of blogging, just like a print is the result of an action of printing, and a stamp can be the result of an action of stamping. I just wish people, having arrived at this point, would make a final check and see that this results in an ambiguity and use a different word. I have the same objection to using Grand Slam to refer to any of the three tournaments that result in a Grand Slam if you win them all in one year.
Saturday May 1st 2010, 5:22 PM
Comment by: Victoria W. (Granite Bay, CA)
I vote for blog as a single site with multiple posts
Tuesday May 11th 2010, 4:12 PM
Comment by: Rachel G.
Personally, I think that the English language is constantly changing. I prefer to use it as the entire site with multiple posts, but if most people use it without differentiation, then the language will change with the usage. The thing is, when someone blogs on their blog with a new blog (verb, site, then individual) it can get confusing, but when someone says: "You have to read my blog" or "You have to read my latest blog," you're still going to the same place to read, and therefore doesn't really matter.

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"Blog" lost out to "google" as the American Dialect Society's Word of the Decade.
Jorn Barger's coinage "weblog" spawned "blog" and many other lexical mashups.
Why Blog?
Why journalists and copywriters choose to blog.