I started to write the thoughts that have become this post in response to something Alphamonkey said on my 2007 round-up post, but I felt it deserved its own airing out, so here it is. The term “blog” needs to be killed, actively and aggressively, by all of us. What is a blog really? According to Wikipedia it is:
a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order
Wow. How specific. Under this term, the following sites are lumped into the same category: Engadget, BoingBoing, The Huffington Post, Dooce, Photo Matt, this blog, and every LiveJournal, WordPress.com, Blogger, etc. personal blog. None of these “blogs” are the same. If we must continue to use the term “blog” I want us to reapply it to only cover personal journals- all others need to fall into categories. I suggest the term “online periodical”, but I leave it to the groupmind to come up with the term- there is too much legitimate journalism and product/media reviewing going on to be calling it all “blogging”.
So why the heck do I even care? Because I genuinely feel that misuse of the term “blog” has become a way to subvert the importance and power of some of these online periodicals on behalf of “legitimate” old media outlets. Engadget and Gizmodo are both extremely powerful online gadget review periodicals, with large readerships and a great track record for spotting and following trends. To say that they are on the same level as the AV Club Blog in terms of technology news is absurd, and is an effort to minimize their worth. Some of the best political and business (and celebrity) reporting is happening on ‘blogs’, to the point that many people now get their daily news via RSS, forcing many “real” periodicals to offer fully-featured online sites. Most notably, the New York Times just dropped its stupid pay wall that was preventing them from becoming an active part of the blogosphere (which now earns them more ad revenue than their pay system was bringing in).
“Blogger” is a curse word used to lump an entire swath of new media journalists together, lowering the best to the level of the worst. Twitter is not news, but The Daily Kos is- and it is high time we show the world that we can tell the difference. Let us keep the term blog: ‘noun; (see “web log”) a personal journal that has been made accessible online’. Add the term online periodical: ‘noun; a website that offers periodically updated content on a specific range of topics, much as the newspapers and magazines of yesteryear did’. We are living in the 21st Century, it is time we invited old media to come join us; I don’t think we are going anywhere and so it is time we started getting real about all of this.