Monday, July 19, 2004

Ah, that everyone cared so much

Jason Kottke repeats his impassioned plea to newspapers and magazines to quit using "web logs" instead of "weblogs."
When dealing with words generated by the Internet, where people stick bits of different words together with reckless abandon, I can understand the need for high-quality newspapers and magazines to use the proper grammatical approach in dealing with compound words, hyphens, etc. At first blush, "weblog" appears to be a shortened version of "web log" which is in turn a shortened version of "World Wide Web log", in which case the usage the media has adopted would be more or less correct ("Web log" would probably be more correct). But the evidence doesn't support this.
He says the original term was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 as "WebLog" and then, subsequently by Barger, "weblog."

That explanation ignores the etymology of Barger's WebLog, though. It was his log on the Web, whether he scrunched the two words together or not. And newspapers sticking to Web log on first reference are simply following the style of Web site that was set long before blogs were on their radar.

"Weblog" has other problems, namely that, for the uninitiated, it looks like "we blog" as much as "web log."

But making the transition from "Web log" to "blog" in one small step is a stretch, too.

So what's the solution? "Blog" on first reference. Describe what that entails, of course. But you'd probably have to do that with "Web log" or "weblog" anyway. And no one calls them Web logs anymore. (Did they even to begin with?)


At 1:29 PM, July 20, 2004, Blogger Bill said...

In addition to the other problems, changing "Web log" to "weblog" takes a lot of the fun out of the "blog" coinage.

At 10:00 PM, July 21, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

As grating as it was the first couple of hours, "blog" has grown on me.


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