The word blog is derived from weblog by thinking of the latter word not as the conjunction of web and log, but rather we and blog.

We blog. And so, a rather formal, impersonal name for a very personal type of Web site, begins to suggest a community.

To blog is to keep a weblog or, specifically, to post something to that weblog (as in pressing the "BlogThis!" button that comes with the Blogger publishing tool, one of the more common weblog tools in use).

Blogging about blogging

I've rarely seen any genre, medium or format featuring so much meta discussion as do a lot of weblogs. Questions like "Why do we blog?" are repeatedly asked and answered, outlines for ethics, manifestos and guidelines for blogging are made and commented on, what makes their way of publishing different from that of the more traditional media is discussed. Etcetera. And then some. Why is this?

The blog is a young medium. Yes, I think it is a medium or, perhaps, a format, weblogs are far too diverse in content to be called a genre in my opinion. There are actually blog novels, for crying out loud, even if the majority of weblogs look more like surf reports, news commentary, me-columns or diaries. Calling the blog a genre makes about as much sense as saying the book constitutes one. It's a medium, and a rather young one - Tim Berners-Lee is credited as having made the first weblog in the web's pure infancy, but the whole thing seriously took off only a couple of years ago, with the introduction of easy-to-use weblog tools and free bloghosting services.

Also, weblogs are no doubt read by many sorts of people, but what seems certain, is that they are read by other webloggers. This is seen in the blogrolling lists appearing in the left or right column of most weblogs, featuring the weblogs the blogger reads more or less regularly. And it is of course seen in the frequent cross-linking and debating between weblogs.

Corporate weblogs exist, so do weblogs that are part of established publications, such as Dan Gillmor's eJournal. Most weblogs, however, are published by individuals of little RL fame and with limited possibilities of marketing. They need to get noticed by other weblogs, to become a recognized part of the Blogosphere, and their safest bet for an MO is looking at what the others do - what makes for a popular weblog.

Also, bloggers are often people of strong opinions, opinions that might, politically, diverge to the extreme (from the libertarian-pundit bloggers who want to punch Robert Fisk on the nose to the leftist bloggers who sport semi-communist symbols on their websites, etc.) - so that one of the things they all have in common is figuring out what to do with this still rather fresh medium that they are trying to make their own.

So blogging is expressing yourself through a young medium which holds very few guidelines, with no marketing budget, no real establishment to tell you how to do it except the role models to be found in the politically diverse blogosphere*, and doing so to an audience of an unknown size and demographic, where you know quite a few are likely to be bloggers themselves. Is it any wonder there's a lot of blogging about blogging?

* Some will claim that although diverse, the blogosphere is severely biased politically, but this is not my point here.

See also: Noding about noding

Blog's the stuff for work,
Blog's the stuff for play,
Blog's the stuff, when you feel rough,
to chase the blues away
--The March of Slime, Cytricon, 1955

Blog is the traditional drink served (although not always drunk), at the lowest class of SF fandom conventions. It is something like the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, except less appealing. It is sufficiently alcoholic to induce you to eat crottled greeps, but the LD50 is lower than that of Nuclear Fizz.

Blog was first advertised in 1955, when a mob of crazed SF fans (the Liverpool Science Fiction Society, to be exact) put on a 'Tapera' (taped space opera) called 'The March of Slime'. Blog was the official sponsor of the tapera, and flyers were distributed and banners were hung. It wasn't long before people started showing up at the hotel bar asking for blog; the nonplused bartender resorted to telling the disappointed customers (both fannish and mundane) that he was "all out, next shipment in tomorrow". Of course, there was no shipment, and the bartender finally resorted to mixing cider with rum. Of course, the real fans has already tasted blog, and were not fooled.

The 'real' recipe for making blog has long been a matter of debate. The original blog was reported to be made by Peter Hamilton with a brandy and egg flip base, and uncertain amounts of black currant puree, Alka-Seltzer, and Beecham's powder. For obvious reasons, this recipe is not universally accepted. Modern recipes usually include equal parts alcohol and weird stuff, although the weird stuff is technically optional. It is common to add something active to the drink, weather it be Alka-seltzer or dry ice.

The word 'blog' was probably created spontaneously by a very drunken fan, but there is a possibility that it comes from a mock-advertisement that appeared in an article written by J.B. 'Beachcomber' Morton in the 1940s:

"Why is Sir Arthur looking so gloomy, Sir Harry?"

"Poor devil! It's like this, Sir George." Lowers voice "His capillaries, set end to end, wouldn't circle the earth more than once."

"Phugh! That's dreadful, Sir Harry. Poor blighter! Is there no hope?"

"Oh yes, Sir George: BLOGGO. A year ago my capillaries, set end to end, would barely have reached China. Today they would circle the earth three times. But where are you dashing off to, Sir George?"

"I'm going to buy some BLOGGO for Sir Arthur..."

Regardless of whether or not this was the inspiration for blog, it's darn good writing. It should be noted that this drink, while preceding the internet-type blogs by a good long while, are not in anyway connected to them, etymologically or otherwise.


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