theCriticalThought.com May 2017          Tom Ersin, Managing Editor
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The Thinker

A Blog by
Any Other Name


What's in a cognomen?



Yo! What's in a name? That would which we might maybe refer to as a rose — or a blog — by any other name would rake as much mud. Nice play, Shakespeare.

The word blog is a shortening of the term Web log. (Web, short for World Wide Web, is a proper noun and, therefore, like Internet, is capitalized. Just for the sake of confusion, however, the grammar czars have determined that the term website should not be capped.)

Over time, the two words gradually merged to form Weblog, then were ultimately shortened to blog. Blog is not to be confused with Blago (short for Blagojevich, as in Rod): the committing of a profanity while selling one of your state’s U.S. Senate seats on a wiretapped phone.

The application and usage of the World Wide Web and the Internet has included a Church sign: "Blogs ate a tool of the devil's"do-it-yourself element since its public inception. Though limited to the pocket-protector crowd in its infancy, the Internet now belongs to everyone and no one. The only membership requirement for this club is a computer and an Internet connection.

In the past couple of decades, the computer and the Internet have followed the route of the telephone and the television, albeit, at a much faster developmental pace. One can hear the similarities in the complaints of the early and late 20th-century technophobes: "I ain’t gonna start usin' no new-fangled telephone — they’re fixin’ to replace eyeball-to-eyeball intelligent repartee!" Sounds a lot like the early days of electronic (e)mail.

Today, a majority of the U.S. population uses the Internet, and the rest accept that it's here to stay — like the telephone. Among the majority who use computers and the Internet, they're continuously finding new ways to apply them. Additionally, the learning curve for digital technology has shortened and softened. Sure, many pieces of software still take a while to learn, even for the best of us. But so much of what is difficult today was simply impossible or nonexistent a decade ago. Things are easier to learn, and more people are willing to learn them to access some of that power.

Back to blogs. Technically, a blog is a simplified (or glorified) website. And the do-it-yourself aspect of the Internet means that anybody and their German Shepherd-Chihuahua mix can have their own website (an important part of one’s online presence). The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that anyone could stand atop a soapbox and speak to the citizenry. Now imagine a digital soapbox awaiting every citizen who wishes to claim one, with an almost instantaneous worldwide (Web) reach.

Blogs take various forms. Many people use them as a digital diary or journal — a very public diary or journal. Others use their blog to put their opinions out to the world about current events or any other subject. Still others have created a forum for their thoughts about companies and corporations. Conversely, companies and corporations have tapped into the power of opinion and of influencing opinion (Conhaim, 2006). Granted, millions of randomly circulating opinions aren't very effective and generally remain anonymous. Enter Internet search technology. The thing about the Internet, combined with American ingenuity, is that whenever a need is conceived, it is met. Search technology, i.e., search engines, now gives us the power to focus on only the subject matter we want.

Looking for opinions about lawn tractors? Type "lawn tractor blogs" into the window of your favorite search engine. Got a complaint about your new John Deere 4310 4-wheel drive lawn tractor with the 32 horsepower, three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, direct injection fuel system, diesel engine — and independent rear PTO? For starters, you can visit several John Deere user blog sites for consumer reviews. From there you can find more blogs on which to commiserate with fellow John Deere complainers. Finally, to keep things fair and balanced, you can check out the company’s own blog to hear what they have to say as they attempt to allay the fears of new 4310 4WD owners.

I visited The Washington Post website to research their blog presence factor. The Post has a directory that lists all of the blogs their writers host on many different subjects. I stopped counting after 62. The point here is that an individual reader can communicate with any of the Post's writers who run a blog, of which there are at least 62. And the conversation is there for anyone interested.

I guess I better catch up and learn how to use email. ■



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An Internet magazine sharpening the satiric edge of critically thoughtful communication while exploring media, culture, and cellphone etiquette.

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Blog

 

Blog is not to be confused with Blago: the committing of a profanity while selling one of your state's U.S. Senate seats on a wiretapped phone.

 

Blog

 

I visited The Washington Post website to research their blog presence factor. I stopped counting after 62. The point here is that an individual reader can communicate with any of the Post's writers who run a blog, of which there are at least 62. And the conversation is there for anyone interested.

 

"I love blogging"

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