Would A Blog By Any Other Name…?

February 10, 2013

Humor

Today’s Weekly Question of the Week comes from a short comment exchange the other day with Becca over at 25 To Fly. I was saying how I’ve come to hate the term “blog” for a number of reasons. Including?

"August 4: I ate a sandwich today and the bread was kinda dry but I ate it anyway.  Comments?"

“August 4: I ate a sandwich today and the bread was kinda dry but I ate it anyway. Comments?”

  • It sounds disgusting.   “You’ve got a lot of blog in here, that’s why the sink keeps backing up.”
  • It’s become synonymous with the lowest form of expression.  I remember watching the show The Newsroom and at one point Jeff Daniels says to a disgraced reporters (I’m paraphrasing the first part), “You used to have cover bylines and a regular column in the Times. Now you have a blog.”  And, yes, there are some awful blogs out there (None of ours, obviously.  Other people’s.  Stupid people’s.  I mean, thank God none of them are here, so we can speak frankly), but there’s some pretty amazing stuff being generated.  I don’t want to get on “Mutual Admiration Society” but, like the Internet itself, the range is beyond comprehension.
  • If you tell someone you have a blog their smile freezes and they shoot you a look that communicates “Oh, God.  Oh, God, he’s going to ask me to read it…”
  • People then respond with faux-encouragement and congratulations as if you’d just blurted out “This morning I picked out my clothes and got dressed ALL BY MYSELF!”

And I could go on…

But what else could they be called?  Should there be different names, depending on style & content?  I threw out Bliterature, which I think we can all agree shouldn’t be discussed any further.  Stuphblog said he goes with “Ecomedy” which is pretty good.

What do you think?  How do you feel about the term “blog” and “blogger”?  What images come to mind?

And, perhaps most of all, what other terms can you think of that might be more accurate?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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97 Comments on “Would A Blog By Any Other Name…?”

  1. skippingstones Says:

    I rarely tell people I blog, and when I do they either stare at me blankly or say, “Really? What’s it about?” I don’t know which is worse.

    Reply

  2. 1pointperspective Says:

    When describing it to men, I refer to my blog as “brain-porn”, when describing it to women, I use the term “Cyber sonnet”. I don’t describe my blog to children, I don’t want to worry about corrupting their little minds.

    Reply

  3. sj Says:

    If you tell someone you have a blog their smile freezes and they shoot you a look that communicates “Oh, God. Oh, God, he’s going to ask me to read it…”

    This. It’s most part of the reason I really don’t talk about mine with friends that don’t blog. I don’t like them to feel like I’m that asshole that’s trying to force everyone to read (BUT THEY TOTALLY SHOULD BECAUSE THEY LIKE ME ALREADY).

    Also, I laughed really hard when I saw your tags, and I’m trying not to take it personally that I’m almost positive you were talking about me in that second bullet point. <.<

    Reply

  4. mistyslaws Says:

    I’ve been struggling with this recently. Nobody knows I have a blog except my husband, and he could less than care. Anytime you hear the word “blog” being used in pop culture, social media or by people in general, it is usually said with derision or disdain. Unless its by another blogger, then it’s with equal parts pride and embarrassment.

    I’m thinking about how to branch out and be more me, but how do you put yourself out there to be considered serious without a platform? That’s what blogging IS for so many people who have used it as a jumping off point to bigger and greater writing projects. It works. Sometimes. So I guess we just live with the mocking….until we can throw a book at the mocker. Our own published book. At least, that’s the dream…..

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah, the expansion part is tough. “Careful of that next step, it’s a doozy.”

      And I genuinely think part of the problem is the word “blog” is funny, therefore it’s so much easier to utilize as a punchline for pop culture slams/jokes.

      Reply

  5. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    Tell someone you write that is enough to scare them away…it seems the term blog is scarier than a scarecrow
    then there are people who would give you the pity look cos for some blog writers are those who couldnt find a publisher ….

    Reply

  6. josefkul Says:

    I agree, my wife doesn’t get it. She’ll spend hours looking at People magazine’s wonderwall or checking out the best internet tabloids, but blogging seems ridiculous to her. I’ve gotten compliments from my coworkers, but most just don’t understand it. There does seem to be a stigma to it, but it’s a lot more fun than Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of online social expression.
    You really get to know someone through their blog and it seems a lot more personal and real than simply dropping a Facebook picture of your kid at the grocery store as you wait for a stream of likes. Facebook seems so much more pathetic than blogging, but everybody has a Facebook account. I don’t get it.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Excellent point – how come Twitter gets to be cool? Facebook is almost entirely either daily minutia or blatant bragging. I feel like I know people less via their FB posts.

      Reply

      • josefkul Says:

        Exactly, I feel like Facebook has just become a dumping ground for useless mom drivel. Boring Facebook update: at grocery story buying avocados. Five seconds later a second boring Facebook update: avocados were delicious! Facebook, I will never understand you.

        Reply

  7. rachelocal Says:

    I always seem to be apologizing when I tell people I have a blog. The other day I was on a plane and talked to the guy next to me for a good hour. We were talking about food and it came up that I blog about food. I gave him a card with the preface, “Because I know you really care, here’s my blog information.” Why must I be sarcastic about it? I think WE (not the OTHERS you were talking about) should be proud of our blogs. I consider it a writing platform for myself and an information source for my readers. Maybe we should just start referring to our blogs as our websites. Sounds like a much bigger deal.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I do that, usually, but I always shoot myself in the foot. “I have a website.” “Oh, yeah? What kind?” “Oh, well, it’s, um, a sort of literature humor uh, just me, bloggish type, um, blogging blog type blog. Damn.”

      Reply

  8. Every Record Tells A Story Says:

    The trouble with blogging is that it requires no qualifications and no talent, other than the ability to type something regularly. That’s also what is good about it – it allows the amateur writer to indulge themselves.
    The result is some truly dreadful writing. And some ok stuff too. And that’s just on my blog.
    I’d like to describe what I do as being a (part-time) “writer” but because it’s not my day job, I don’t get paid for it, and because many professional writers are really good at it I think “blogger” is about right. With all that the word entails. I’m an amateur. A chancer. Twenty years ago I’d have been writing photocopied fanzine-type things (actually that’s what I was doing 20 yrs ago).
    PS – Loved a) “Oh no he’s going to ask me to read it” b) “thank god none of them are here” and c) the over-praising like you just got yourself dressed.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah, I made a stab at the ‘zine myself back in the wild and lawless 90’s. And I agree, that that’s part of what’s so great about blogging – it’s utterly “unregulated,” so to speak. It hasn’t been reduced to a business model or mythology that you have to be “in the know” or live in New York (or whatever) to do.

      Reply

  9. Tez Says:

    I think it should be renamed as:

    Captain’s Log, Stardate (insert date) or, CLOGS for short

    a) because all bloggers are star captains, and

    b) so many are just a bit awkward and clunky (not yours, of course).

    Reply

  10. Maria Says:

    I generally say that I’m the founder/editor of a website.
    When asked what it’s about I reply, “Observational Essays” or “Essays on observations and experiences.”
    No, I don’t like the word blog because to me, that says “live journal” and I’m not journaling (not that there’s anything wrong w/it, just not my gig).

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I was mentioning to someone else that I do that, too – refer to it as a website (and for the same reasons; I’m rarely even getting all that personal… which is sometimes a flaw of my site I think). I, however, inevitably shoot myself down when I try to explain what it is. I get very… wait for it… byronic about it.

      Reply

  11. Elyse Says:

    You are absolutely right, B-Man. We are all brilliant at whatever it is these things should be called.

    But Blog? Doesn’t that sound like a euphemism for poop? And blogging? Well, it’s best done in private.

    I’m down with TwinDaddy’s “Ecocomedy” for the funny posts. When you’re pouring your soul out, though, that’s when you need readers. And it would be even more difficult to get friends to read your ecotragedy.

    Reply

  12. Go Jules Go Says:

    I’ve been so lucky with the response about my blog in the outside world. Oh wait. That’s because I never bring it up.

    I shall return when I’ve thought of the perfect name to replace blog.

    P.S. – That picture of you is great – almost as good as the one of you with your cat and the laser background.

    Reply

  13. Dana Says:

    I *never* tell people I blog. Ever. I continue to be horrified when people I know in real life tell me they read my blog, and I would rather scalp myself than bring up my blog in a conversation (with strangers or friends, it doesn’t matter.)

    Completely defeats the purpose of blogging, no? Why don’t I just write in a journal with a makeshift “lock” on it and hide it underneath my mattress? “PRIVATE- FOR MY EYES ONLY”. (The ability to add hyperlinks and media to my posts are probably the only things keeping me away from a Polly Pocket journal with loopy cursive writing inside.)

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I do that, too. Maybe 6 people I know, personally, know about this site. At first it was a matter of pride – I didn’t want them to know if it crashed & burned and also I didn’t want all of my comments to be things like, “Don’t forget we need eggs” and such.

      Reply

  14. speaker7 Says:

    I suggest sandwich artist.

    Reply

  15. mairedubhtx Says:

    I rarely tell people I have a blog because it brings up such negative connotations. I refer them to my “website.”

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I do too. Then when they ask what it’s called I say, “The Huffington Post.”

      Actually, though, I need to work on a script for what to say next, when they ask what it’s about. I also kind of regret the name, because if they DO ask what it’s called, and I tell them, they inevitably scrunch their faces and say, “WHAT’S is called? Can you spell that? Does that mean something?”

      Reply

  16. UndercoverL Says:

    Totally agree. I love the internet, but suddenly anyone who can string words together and put them into an (in)complete thought is an author. It’s almost the equivalent of getting a degree from a Cracker Jack box. I guess that’s what makes comments so invaluable in separating the wheat from the chaff; we see a comment we agree with, we click, we read, we follow. But some people… yeesh.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Isn’t that always a toughie? When someone leaves a comment that you just totally, totally disagree with? Handy when it’s someone else’s site and you know “don’t need to visit that one…”, rough when it’s yours and you need to respond.

      Reply

      • UndercoverL Says:

        The way I see it, if people are willing to voice their opinions in a public forum they need to be prepared for disagreements. Someone wrote a piece on their blog about an organization that was paying drug addicts to get sterilized. He totally disagreed with them and then asked his readers’ opinions. Of course, I aired mine on his page, because he asked, then went into depth on my own perspective of it in a post on my own blog. It’s just the way freedom of speech and writing goes. I happen to like your opinion… most of the time. LOL 😉

        Reply

  17. wildramp Says:

    When people come into the Market they are thrilled I have all this information about the food in there. Then I tell them that the blog has all the visits to the farms and photos and if they want to know about the food they are eating they can read it. Oh great! They say…and I give them a card with the url…and my membership does not increase as much as it should. Why do people want to know but are unwilling to take a few minutes to read?

    Reply

  18. Cheri Thacker Says:

    You definitely nailed the general sentiment about blogging, and I’m pleased to see that other bloggers feel the way I sometimes do. (Part pride-part embarrassment at having ONLY a “blog”.) But honestly, I’m proud of both of my blogs. One expands upon the humor column that runs in several area newspaper publications. I like the Ecomedy suggestion for that one. And one is a for a project I’m working on that I hope to compile into a non fiction book on racism in today’s south.

    Like one of the other people that responded, I usually refer to mine as “my websites.” I also like “platform-builders” for those that have, or wish, to have a career in writing.

    Reply

  19. on thehomefrontandbeyond Says:

    we are strong Don Pardo, we can take criticism — if others do not understand blogging it is their loss

    Reply

  20. Michael Says:

    I think this would be a good question for Sexy Stalin. Does Sexy Stalin approve of the word blog and/or blogging? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Reply

  21. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Over the holidays I had a family member say “No, we’re not coming to dinner, we don’t want you blogging about us.” As if they are even interesting enough to muster up a sentence about for god sakes!
    I started blogging for one reason, to heal a piece of myself. The bonus has been reading some very talented work, getting more comfortable with my own words and connecting with some amazing people who I believe are there for a reason.
    You’re right, the term “blogging” doesn’t do justice to this experience. Maybe it could be Cybersays =Cyber Essays

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I like the idea of E-ssays, just for long Abbott & Costello-esque conversations.

      “It’s pronounced ‘eh-ssays.'”
      “What are?”
      “Essays.”
      “Right, that’s what I do. Ee-ssays.”

      Reply

  22. Raymond Says:

    I’m the VP of marketing so you’d think me to be in love with terms like “blog.” in truth I’m opposed to any word one can effectively say while vomiting – try it it’s fun! The only word I hate more is “blogosphere” or as I call it The Writers Asylum. I refer to my personal blog as “a weekly horror commentary” I don’t worry much over people’s “blog reflex” because I’m also self published which is far more fearful to the populace. If writing a blog is like having a cold than being self published is the flu. Of course at times it’s helpful. When I want to get away from someone I just lie and say ” I published a book, it’s called Have you found Jesus”

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Ah yes, self-publishing. Isn’t it strange how the publishing industry is crumbling, it’s never been easier to self-publish and self-market in a way that’s comparable, yet it has a tiny fraction of the respect afforded the music industry which is in the EXACT SAME situation.

      Reply

  23. becomingcliche Says:

    Yes. The last two points. Yes, and yes. I don’t blog. I keep a Periodical of Online Ponderings. People are never shocked or horrified to learn that I P.O.O.P. Although they sometimes wish I wouldn’t mention that I’ve gone from P.O.O.P.ing daily to twice a week at best.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      We were at the doctor and she asked if KB poops at least once every 10 days. Every 10 days??!! Good God. What kinds of colons are these other babies born with?

      Speaking of pooping…

      Reply

  24. Lorna's Voice Says:

    When I was reading books about how to get my short personal essays published, one of the “must-dos” was to invoke social media. The blog was mentioned first. I had to call my son and ask him what the heck a blog was. “Web log.” Okay, well what’s that?” And the conversation deteriorated from there.

    I suppose wlog wouldn’t be any good as a shorthand way for referring to this thing we do. e-journal is cumbersome. “Wot” just wouldn’t do at all (Waste of Time). I’m stuck…

    Reply

  25. Titillating Thoughts Says:

    I have never experienced the negative connotation surrounding the word “blog.” For all that I have told about my blog, I have never received any ill-like comment in return. So, from my stance, I see nothing wrong with the term blog. Then again it may be the content of my blog, and its ability to match up well with the word.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Wow, that’s lucky. Of course, who knows how much of it is projection on my part. “I have a blog.” “Oh, that’s cool.” “WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN? WHO ARE YOU JUDGE ME??”

      Reply

  26. winopants Says:

    Unedited, self-published internet column? Unfiltered brain farts? Internet chatter jabber?
    What you do here is polished and clever, but there are definitely some places of word spewage that give blogs a bad rap.
    I’ve always hated that word blog. It kept me from starting one forever, and until I began to find some good ones, I did associate them with terrible writing.

    Reply

  27. My Inner Chick Says:

    (((“Oh, God. Oh, God, he’s going to ask me to read it…”)))

    Haaaaa, that sentence made me smile.

    When I hear the word “Blog,” my first thought is: Writing without Boundaries.

    I Like. I really like.

    The people who down bloggers are just envious as hell they do not have that freedom!

    Reply

  28. Luddy's Lens Says:

    Gee, everyone’s really down on third-rate writers here. What about us third-rate amateur photographers? We too produce some genuine undisputed crapola to spew upon the public at large! And trite! We are so TRITE! We are waaay triter than you guys! Are we so low on the w’logging (thanks Lorna’s Voice) ladder that we don’t deserve a little cruel snark?

    Reply

  29. rossmurray1 Says:

    We just need to juice it up a bit. Not “I have a blog” but “I have a BLØG, GOD OF THUNDER!”

    Either that or “diary.”

    Reply

  30. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    I called the online journal I kept from ’95 to ’01(ish) my “public journal.” It took me several years to use the word “blog” without cringing. Now I’m more or less OK with it, but there are definitely connotations that come with saying, “I’m a blogger.” You nailed it with that last bullet there. :p

    Reply

  31. Renee B-W Says:

    Well, we all know everything is cooler when it starts with a small i followed by a capital letter, so how about calling it iWriting? Or writing 2.0?

    Also, there should be a name for that particular sickly smile people give you when you say you have a blog, and they think you’re going to ask them to read it…

    Reply

  32. Brown Road Chronicles Says:

    This is interesting, especially reading though the comments. I guess I never realized blogging was so stigmatized. Then again I’ve never put mine out there in my personal “public”. A few of my friends and family have discovered it but I try to keep it quiet. On a personal note I’ve always considered my site a sort of written Prarie Home Companion, stories that are sometimes funny, sometime serious, sometimes just plain stupid. I don’t know what I’d call it though!

    Reply

  33. Hippie Cahier Says:

    The term ‘blog’ originated from the portmanteau of ‘web’ and ‘log’ and then it was just too much work to type ‘weblog’. Weblogs (or web logs) were ways to log one’s every thought and deed, hence the negative association.

    If we combined ‘web’ and ‘log’ and (in your case) ‘humor’, ‘blumor’ wouldn’t be any more sophisticated, but (again, in your case) still darn fine writing that is not to be missed…

    Reply

  34. calahan Says:

    To me, blog suggests online diary. At this point, anyone saying they write “a blog” should be done with equally antiquated air quotes. If we’re suggesting terms, I would like to throw in N.A.B.I.T.T.S (Not A Blog In The Traditional Sense). Sure, it sounds like a type of cracker, but who doesn’t like crackers?

    Reply

  35. susielindau Says:

    Blog originally was used as a journal or diary. I never intended it to be used like that and have never been comfortable with the word either. I get the fish eye sometimes when I use that term. In fact that is what I have always pictured. A big goldfish blowing out a bubble with the word, “Blog.”
    I am more likely to say that I am a writer not a blogger.

    I think it should be called a writesite because that is what I do!

    Reply

  36. KOKAY Says:

    Actually I was about to make a blog post with the title “WHERE ART THOU BYRONIC MAN?” But here you are. Now I’m scared of posting it, lest I prove all your bullet points! @,@

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s quite likely that I haven’t been showing up in your reader – apparently something happened and I stopped showing up for a lot of people who were subscribed to me. Now it’s fixed (yay), and it just seems like I went on a long vacation.

      Reply

  37. Sandy Sue Says:

    I was proud of the fact that I actually joined the 21st century by creating a blog! Talking about it is part of my schtick when speaking about bipolar disorder, so it’s a few layers deeper than polite conversation.

    There are a few people I know in real life who read my posts, but generally it’s too painful for them. My intent with my blog is to be honest about my illness and how I manage or don’t manage it. The folks in my real life can only take so much of that before their fear or need to fix me kicks in. Folks in the “blogosphere,” with or without mental illness, seem to fare better.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It is a great way to have a “layer” between the subject matter and the readers. Oddly easier than in person. The stick figures have been a good way for me to write more and more personal stuff.

      Reply

  38. Michelle Gillies Says:

    You’ve obviously hit a nerve with all of us. Whenever I say I have a blog people say, “What’s the point? I don’t get it.” To be honest when I started to write I didn’t care if they “got it” my “point” was be able to make some kind of record of me. I have since found that it feels good to write and remember stuff and write it down. Of course I don’t have that many readers so chances of me offending anyone are pretty slim. I have not figured out how people get thousands of readers that are real people.

    I do refer to my blog as my website. Most of the people that pay me to write for them do say, “I read your blog and was wondering if you would be able to do that for us”. They don’t really get it and are happy to have someone muck through it for them.

    This is a great discussion and I love the comments. I hope we keep talking about it.

    Reply

  39. Steve Says:

    I think blog or blogger has become a general term to describe the whole idea or concept, a bit like hoover for vacuum cleaner or durex for condom… hmmm did I really mention condom, perhaps I should blog about it.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      In that sense, a blog is like a “written dreamscape” – all your experiences are fuel for what appears there.

      Reply

      • Steve Says:

        If I read that correctly then yes, although some people specialise they are authors perhaps, or photographers so they use a blog platform to showcase their “stuff”, others like me use it as an online diary, not really specialising in a particular niche.

        Reply

  40. Angie Z. Says:

    I next to never tell people I write a blog. Which kills me sometimes to withhold since at some point I’m in the midst of a conversation with a Gen Xer and the subject of John Cusack/Halley’s Comet/The Muppet Show comes up and I want to blurt out ooh, ooh, I wrote a blog post about him/that/them! But then it feels like I just killed the conversation. Plus, you others with multi topic blogs can actually appear normal when you talk about your blogs, whereas I appear to be some kind of hobbyist weirdo who collects vintage lunchboxes.

    I have always hated the name blog since I first heard it in 2001ish. Blech. Actually, let’s go with Blech. I’m a blecher.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I have two vintage lunchboxes – A Partridge Family one, and a Peanuts one (that one was actually mine when I was a kid).

      No, I don’t still have the thermoses.

      And I don’t think your blog is that limited, except perhaps quasi-generationally; and focusing something on the Gen-x crowd seemed really sharp, to me. But then, I’m in Gen-X, so…

      Reply

      • Angie Z. Says:

        Thanks, B-Man. And what does your Peanuts lunchbox look like? Mine was blue plastic (not the chic metal type) and showed Lucy and Charlie playing football. And maybe Snoopy on the other side. It was my brother’s hand-me-down so I’m guessing it was from the late 70s. Ooh, what I’d give to still have that thing….

        Reply

  41. thesinglecell Says:

    Yeah, nobody I know in real life knows I have a site-on-which-I-write. Frankly, though, some things are blogs in the diminutive sense… to be met with derision and scorn. Blerghs, perhaps we could call them. And then there are others, like yours, that are more like Blaaaahgs… like, “aaah, that’s brilliant!”

    Reply

  42. pegoleg Says:

    Every once in a great while I mention something about my blog to real-life friends and they get that strained, kinda skeptical smile like they’ve heard the term before, but have never actually experienced it personally…and would rather have their fingernails pulled out, slowly, then visit mine. Maybe if we called it Literary Cyber Heaven?

    Reply

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