A Blog is Another Way to Express Our Selves When Writing on
The Blog, a Portmanteau Word* Blending “Web Log” as “We Blog”.
*A portmanteau word refers to a word that combines the sound and meaning
of two words, e.g., “smog”, a combination of “smoke” and “fog”;
a system that was used by Lewis Carroll in his Through the Looking Glass;
as with, “slithy” as a portmanteau because “there are two meanings
packed up into one word”. The word portmanteau was an old type of large leather
suitcase, especially one that opened out into two compartments; from French portemanteau
(porter, “to carry” + manteau, “cloak”).
Peter Merholz, who says, “I’m a Web design guy residing in San Francisco,
running my first company, engaging in various forms of Web punditry, drinking coffee
and scotch (not together) to keep going” lays claim to being the inventor
of the word blog.
Part of what Merholz wrote in his
Play With Your Words Posted on 05/17/2002, are presented in the following
highlights with a few modifications for clarification:
- I have always loved words.
I was one of those kids who would run to dictionaries to look up words I didn’t
- I loved word play—anagrams, crossword puzzles, double crostics, etc.
As such, it’s weird to experience how my love of words and wordplay has actually
made an impact.
Sometime in April or May of 1999 (I can’t say for sure when I exactly did it),
I posted, in the sidebar of my homepage: “For What It’s Worth I’ve
decided to pronounce the word “weblog” as we (wee)-blog. Or “blog”
- I didn’t think much of it.
- I was just being silly, shifting the syllabic break one letter to the left.
I started using the word in my posts, and some folks, when emailing me, would use
- I enjoyed its crudeness, its dissonance.
- These sites (mine included!) tend to be a kind of information upchucking.
“Blog” would have likely died a forgotten death had it not been for one
thing: In August of 1999, Pyra Labs released “Blogger”. And with that,
the use of “blog” grew with the tool’s success.
And now, it’s May of 2002, and over the last few days, “blog” has
proven its stickiness in a way I would have never bothered to even foretell.
At the “Emerging Technology Conference,” a prevailing topic was weblogs,
with Steven Johnson’s keynote “City of Blogs”, with Cory’s references
to the “People’s Republic of Blogistan”, other folks speaking of
the “Blogsphere”, and endless conversations about who was blogging what.
- Standing at the trailhead is a delightful reward for this nerdy word-obsessed kid
who, flipping through Webster’s, used to wonder, “who was the first person
to say that?”
Views about the Structures of Blogs
In another article that helps us understand this recent phenomenon, Meg Hourihan
explains in “What We’re Doing When We Blog”, June, 13, 2002; excerpts
of which are presented here in the following. Sentences in bold are emphasized by
me (John R.).
Blog posts are short, informal, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deeply personal,
no matter what topic they approach.
They can be characterized by their conversational tone and unlike a more formal
essay or speech, a blog post is often an opening to a discussion, rather than a
full-fledged argument already arrived at.
- As bloggers, we update our sites frequently with the content that matters to
Depending on the blogger, the content varies; but because it’s a weblog, formatted
reverse-chronologically and time-stamped; a reader can expect it will be updated
- By placing our e-mail addresses on our sites, or including features to allow readers
to comment directly
on a specific post, we allow our readers to join the
- Webloggers often use tools to facilitate the publication of their sites.
These tools spit out our varied content in the same format—archives, permalinks,
time stamps, and date headers.
- Online we don’t need to produce content of a certain length to meet physical
- As the Web has matured, we’ve developed our own native format for writing online,
a format that moves beyond the page paradigm: The weblog, with its smaller,
more concise, unit of measurement; and the post,
which utilizes the medium
to its best advantage by producing frequent updates and richly hyperlinked text.
- The weblog post is a self-contained topical unit.
It can be as short as one sentence, or run for several paragraphs; and it’s
the amalgamation of multiple posts—on varying topics—on a single page
that distinguishes the weblog from its online ancestor, the “home page”.
- Freed from the constraints of the printed page (or any concept of “page”),
an author can now blog a short thought that previously would have gone unwritten.
- The weblog’s post unit liberates the writer from word count.
• • • •
When I say “everybody says so,” I mean I say so.
When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.
—Dr. Laurence J. Peter
Part 2 of blog