Recently there has been some confusion regarding the terms “blog”, “blogging” and “blogger”. This article is here to define the terms as clearly as possible.
Definition of terms
Let us start with the verb form, “to blog” or more commonly “blogging”. In earlier work on the subject, a common assumption was that in order to blog (verb) one had to have a blog (noun), and that the blog had to be a web page of some kind. This is incorrect; it is possible to blog in any medium, textual as well as spoken and offline as well as online. Briefly, blogging is defined as speaking or otherwise expressing oneself at length on a topic that is either only relevant to oneself or only interesting to oneself and perhaps one or two others, particularly in a context that makes it impolite or hard for others to ignore the blogging. There are, however, a few caveats that make the definition more complex. Most importantly, if the text (or speech) can be considered funny and/or engaging regardless of the reader’s (or listener’s) general disinterest in the topic, then the activity cannot be considered blogging. Also, speaking or writing to just one or a few people generally cannot be considered blogging.
The definitions of “blog” and “blogger” follow quite naturally from the above; a blog is any textual or vocal context in which blogging takes place (such as a webpage, an IRC channel, a Skype conversation or just a circle of friends at a party) and a blogger is, of course, a person who is wont to blog with some regularity.
Clearly, being a blogger is highly undesirable. Nobody likes a blogger, and people on the internet are regularly mean to them. Here are some helpful tips to avoid being considered a blogger:
- If you have one or a few special interests or hobbies that interest you greatly but few, if any, of the people you are speaking with share, you should be very careful when discussing them. Unless you are very, very good at making them seem funny or interesting to someone with no knowledge or interest in the subject, discussing them will easily let you slide into blogging territory. This goes for technical stuff in particular.
- Discussing events that happened to you in your own daily life is generally considered blogging unless you are either a) very good at making the mundane seem hilarious, or b) the event is interesting or funny in and of itself.
- Venting your opinions may be a danger zone. Some people will always consider this blogging, while others will happily engage in long arguments regarding Wittgenstein’s views on ordinary language philosophy or what Ron Paul really wants. You will have to be very careful in order to avoid being considered a blogger, here. A good rule of thumb is that if people are arguing back, you’re not considered a blogger, at least not by those arguing people (be careful with bystanders, though).
Moral of this story
With the internet giving us access to more information than ever before, the bandwidth of the human perception is more limited than ever. It’s human nature to talk about things that interest you, but please have some empathy: if you don’t have anything funny (to other people) or interesting (to other people) to say, don’t say anything.