Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ceci n'est pas une blog

This thing filling your browser window? A blog. These few lines here? A blog entry. I'm seeing a disturbing number of references to the "latest blog" of somebody who has but one Web log.

13 comments:

Ryan said...

Thank you for saying what we've all been thinking.

I'm afraid a healthy portion of the blame for the confusion re: blog vs. blog post can be heaped upon MySpace.

"Post new blog" is the button MySpace users press to begin a new blog entry.

Well, at least there are only 91 million "friends" pushing that button...

MuPu said...

Thanks for that latest blog entry, Bill.

I'm going to take a guess at an entry in your blog style sheet. This is the first time I've seen an example of it on Blogslot.

"Foreign words are an exception to the headline capitalization rules. Capitalize them the same as you would in running text."

Vraiment?

Bill said...

Comme ca:

1. I was imitating Magritte's capitalization.

2. I was too lazy to figure out what gets lowercased in French.

MuPu said...

Okay, explanation accepted.

I hate to get all hung up on the headline, but . . .

"Un blog." Masculine.

Also, the de-anglicized/de-anglicised "un blogue" is gaining in popularity, courtesy of the language czars québécois.

Doug Sundseth said...

I think your style choice is a good one, but I think I understand where the offending usage comes from. "Blog" is both noun and verb: Bloggers blog on their blogs.

The last time I went out for a ramble, I took "a walk"; the last book I perused was a good "read". I don't think it's much of a stretch to refer to the latest emission of a blogger as "a blog".

Again, yours is a reasonable, probably preferable, style choice. But for reasons of reducing ambiguity, not ensuring correctness.

Bill said...

What I'm referring to is more like using the noun "walk" to refer to both an entire stroll and each step in that stroll. Blog can be both a noun and a verb, but it can't be a noun for both a Web journal and each entry in that journal.

Doug Sundseth said...

Well, clearly it can be a noun with an overloaded definition; I'm sure I could point to lots of cases in which the word is so used. (Otherwise there'd be little point in your, ummm, blog entry.)

I also think it's a bad usage choice to so overload the definition. As such, I'd make the same call as yours for any style guide that I had influence over.

But bad usage choices (such as refusing to use serial commas, for instance) are not necessarily grammatically or linguistically incorrect usage choices.

deb said...

Thank you so very much.

Felix Salmon said...

"Blog entry" is too long. It becomes "blog". Deal. Ultimately meaning is use, and there's no doubt that when referring to individual entries, the most common term is "blog" as opposed to "blog entry". You might think it ought to be different, and I might agree, but that ain't the case. Sorry.

Bill said...

Um, OK, so then what do we call a blog? Blo? Bl? B? But you're right: Terms longer than nine letters just don't exist in the language. Not at all.

Lillie said...

I'm with you, Bill, on individual entries of a blog not being "blogs" themselves. That usage irritates me; it is confusing.

But I don't call my blog posts "blog entries." I call them "posts." So does Blogger.

Bill said...

Sure -- "post" is fine.

Linda said...

It's just not true that the most common use is "blog" for an individual post. That may be the way they do it on MySpace, but in the rest of the world, "blog" is not properly used to apply to an individual entry. Individual entries are "posts" or "blog entries" or "entries," but they are not commonly referred to as "blogs." Not so.

Nor could they be, because it absolutely invites confusion. "The latest blog from [so-and-so writer]," in a world in which multiple blogs by individuals are common, needs to mean the latest blog, not the latest entry.

It's like saying a columnist's latest column is his latest "book." No. It won't work, and it's definitely not standard usage, at least outside MySpace.