Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Word “Blog”

Yesterday was the first time in quite a while that I read anything interesting about blogs in a newspaper. The article was in the Washington Post and titled, When It Comes to Blogs, There Aren’t Enough Words”. It touched on a number of themes that I’ve been thinking and talking about lately, but most important was this paragraph:

Think about how we use “blog” in conversation and compare that with our more evolved slang for print publications. Nobody calls Sports Illustrated a “group magazine.” And we don’t call everything we read on paper a “print.” In newspapers, we talk about dailies, alternative weeklies, tabloids, even supermarket tabloids.

Thank you! That’s it. The word blog is increasingly meaningless. There are so many different kinds of “blogs,” that to even begin to talk about them all in the same breath is wrong. At the moment the word tends to encompass everything from MySpace, LiveJournal to Gothamist and Engadget. There are incredibly different formats and content out there, plus, there are lots of sites that you wouldn’t even think of that run on “blog” software (Movable Type/Wordpress). Would you call About.com a bunch of blogs? They run on Movable Type. What about Movable Type’s own corporate homepage, that runs on Movable Type as well. Does that make the company’s site a blog? No, of course not. It’s just be run on a cheap and easy content management system, something that was not, to my knowledge, available for quite a long time. I’ve built high school websites and photo portfolios using Movable Type because it’s a hell of a lot easier than having to go back and constantly be updating someone else’s stuff.

None of this is to say that blogs are dead, far from it. Rather it’s just to explain my position that I believe blogs will increasingly fade into the background. They will just become another outlet for thoughts, ideas and criticism. To quote Leslie Walker of the Post again, “So let’s stop leaning on “blog” as the only noun to describe every site published in the bloggy format — with short entries displayed in reverse chronological order, in a narrow column running like a laundry chute straight down the home page.”

Right on again!

January 31, 2006