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A Brief History Of The Most Loathed Word On The Internet: Blogosphere

Monday, July 2nd, 2007...11:35 am

A Brief History Of The Most Loathed Word On The Internet: Blogosphere


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There was a recent poll conducted which produced a flawed list of the ten most hated words on the Internet. Coming in at number two behind folksonomy was the word blogosphere.

I demand a recount!

Blogosphere is clearly the most widely ridiculed and irritating word to spawn from the Internet in the last decade. The only possible explanation is they used chimps to tally the votes.

A brief history of a stupid word

This isn’t so much the history of the word blogosphere as it is a short guide on who to blame for its creation. So grab your pitchfork if you have one.

The term blogosphere was first coined by Brad L. Graham on September 10th 1999 in a post bemoaning the shortening of “weblog” to “blog”.

Peter Merholz decided it would be fun to pronounce “weblog” as “wee’blog” and I thought that was kind of cute. Then folks started truncating that to merely “blog” and — ugh! — it’s stuck!

Despite its whimsical provenance, it’s an awkward, homely little word. Goodbye, cyberspace! Hello, blogiverse! Blogosphere? Blogmos? (Carl Sagan: “Imagine billions and billions and billions of blogs.”)

It didn’t catch on, but on January 1st 2002, William Quick recoined the term and claimed it as his own.

I PROPOSE A NAME for the intellectual cyberspace we bloggers occupy: the Blogosphere. Simple enough; the root word is logos, from the Greek meaning, variously: In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos; Among the Sophists, the topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)

Unfortunately this time around “blogosphere” found a place in the Internet lexicon, and we’ve been stuck with it ever since. Thanks guys.

6 Comments

  • Hey Dan

    Interesting cyber-history lesson! What would you call it? Maybe you could go down in history being credited with removing this “stupid word” from our vocab ;)

  • I like the word ‘blogosphere” myself.

  • Meg I think it’s too late to remove it now. Plus I don’t want to be responsible for something worse. :)

    I kind of wish people still used the term weblog. Blog by itself is a very awkward word. Weblog sounds much more respectable.

  • I do not see anything wrong with it myself.

  • I’ve been using spamments and spammenters alot since I’ve been blogging. I’ve never heard it before.

    [1] Do you think I could be considered as the coinier (if that’s how its said) of the term?

    [2] Do you think its annoying as well?

    If so, someone else can have it. :P

  • Interesting to know who to blame it on. 1999 is so far in the past in some ways and yet so long after the basics of the ‘Net were well underway. There were many people making words, even earning a living on line well before 1999. They didn’t call their semi-daily journals “blogs” though. Day books, day notes and journals were common names.

    hose interested in how things were and still are might like to look at:
    http://www.jerrypournelle.com
    (Jerry was aprint writer for the old Byte magazine and has been writing a day book for 30 or 40 years) and Bob Thompson, a “writer of computer books” who has probably written more “posts” (although he’s never call them that) than most bloggers:
    http://www.ttgnet.com/
    frankly I think “blog’ is a childish nonsense term that has served its purpose … but maybe I am in the minority? ;-)

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