What's In a Name?
Published by Abby Spung, December 22nd, 2014
I don’t like the word “blog”. It rhymes with nothing positive. It’s a downer. It sounds like dread, boredom or drudgery. Who the heck wants to read a “blog”? More about that in a minute.
Blog is a truncation of “web log”, which was attributed to Jorn Barger in late 1997, whoever he is. Shortly after, along came Peter Merholz in 1999 who, according to legend, inserted “blog” into our universal lexicon. I wish we could rip it out.
If you read my – blog - you know I am a true advocate of brand management. From where I see it, people don’t value the word very highly. They seem to despair over the semantics. The word is actually creepy. It’s not good for a brand.
Blog rhymes with fog which rhymes with smog and none of these are clear nor good for you. Perhaps you think you are obligated to read or listen to a steady stream of blogs, lest you miss something. In reality, most blogs are generated to meet an imposed timeline; this forces people to publish garbage.
Most blogs are a collection of borrowed ideas and observations with company spin. The worst blogs are those pesky lists like “Thirty things you need to know to land a six-figure job by Tuesday”. Really? Most blogs are group grope at worst, drivel at best. Some are mental graffiti. At OffWhite we call it “puffery”. Do they teach this stuff in Ad/PR classes?
In an age when we can get information on about anything in the world at light speed, what value is a blog that sails out over the Internet like a bottle with a message, tossed aside at sea one day to wash ashore in the middle of an oceanfront bowling banquet with its original meaning bleached from too much sun. So much for targeting your market with a message.
Truth be told, blog does rhyme with something merry and pleasant: Clog. This wonderful folk dance was brought to America by our Welsh and English forefathers who settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina in the 19th century. If they had anticipated the Internet, they would have ditched clog and called themselves “bloggers”. This would have eased the angst for those of us who can’t separate a blog from a clog from a plunger. See what I mean?
If we take a fresh look at why we’re writing a blog, the idea might have a purpose. But let’s start by calling it something else. The word simply doesn’t work. Next, let’s connect our content to our brand; otherwise, what’s the point in writing it? Third, let’s remove the holy obligation. If we have something to say, let’s say it. If not, let’s don’t.
There’s something about beating a dead horse in here, somewhere.
Here’s an action item. Let’s find a better word.
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