PSA: Use “Blog” Properly

One of the most frequently-misused web words is “blog.” One of the best ways to make yourself sound out of touch is to misuse it.

“Blog” is a shortened form of “web log,” a name developed for websites updated with posts arranged in reverse-chronological order. This website, Lawyerist, is a blog.

What you are reading now—this article—is not a blog. It is a post. Or if you are fancy, an article.

A good way to sound as clueless as Senator Ted Stevens when he called the internet a “series of tubes” is to refer to posts as “blogs.” I regularly hear from people who mention reading “a blog I wrote the other day.” No, you read a post I wrote the other day.

In fact, I just received an e-mail from someone who had kindly written a “guest blog” for Lawyerist. He created an entire website for us? No, he wrote a guest post.

Now you know.


  1. Avatar Dan says:

    That being said, when people say they read a blog, they are generally referring to the entirety of the site. When I say “I read this blog the other day talking about stuff” they’re saying the functional equivalent of “I read the Washington Post the other day talking about stuff”.

    Actually if you want to get even more anal about it, there is a reason they are called “blog entries” rather than articles (itself a misleading term). A web log can also be defined as a log of one’s activities published on the web — this is where the concept of bloggers talking about their life arose from. Therefore, since a data point on a log is generally referred to as an “entry”, it’s more accurate to call them “blog entries” — extrapolating that one step further, you can justify the use of the word blog to refer to an individual entry in the same manner that it’s not really THAT incorrect to say “log” to refer to an individual log entry. “There was a log of that intrusion” versus “there was a log entry recorded of that intrusion”. Keep in mind that the term post in blogs is derived from “posting a blog entry”. Using the term post in anything other than verb form would technically be inaccurate (guest post, etc.) but has developed a new form of meaning.

    So arguably, using blog to refer to a single entry is not entirely incorrect either — merely an abbreviated form lacking the followup term “entry” after it.

  2. Avatar michael says:

    Thank you. A major pet peeve.

  3. Avatar Kelly Spradley says:

    Wow, I think Sam and Dan are both being too particular. If you know what someone means, what is the big deal? Do you say I “tweeted” or I “twittered?” Does it matter?

  4. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    It only matters if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about.

    • Aaron Street Aaron S. says:

      I agree with Kelly.

      Just because it’s your pet peeve, Sam, doesn’t mean it matters.

      In fact, since the majority of people who use the term(s) improperly usually do it from the place of people who are new to—and interested in—technology, I think we can cut them some slack.

  5. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    It’s Michael’s pet peeve, not mine. I find it to be mildly grating evidence of technology cluelessness.

    I agree that not using “blog” properly will hardly impact a lawyer’s bottom line, but it will impact his or her “street cred” in the blogging community and among those who understand technology and new media.

    To the extent one considers that important, one should use the word correctly.

  6. Avatar Jade E. Freeman says:

    I love that Sam used “street cred” properly.

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