Blog: a one word online revolution

While we continue to explore words and word choice  this month we wanted to learn more about the origin and history of a word that is close to home for us and share our findings with you. Its the big “B.” We were curious to know where the word “blog” came from? This word has managed to catch on and stay on with users of the world wide web everywhere.

Credit: BloggingPro

Credit: BloggingPro

The word blog is a contraction of the words “web” and “log” and can be used as a noun or a verb. So you can have a blog and you can blog to add and update its content. Blog’s began to gain popularity in the 1990’s with the emergence of web publishing tools that allowed average users to post content to the Internet without having to know how to do web coding such as HTML.

While  blogs were originally created by single individuals as a type of an online diary, multi-author blogs began to emerge around 2009 as more social media programs came about and gained popularity. Today we see blogs by media outlets, politicians, celebrities, universities, major companies, brands, and public outreach agencies like us. You can hardly surf the web without running into a blog on your favorite hobby or most recent area of interest.

Credit:  Public Broadcasting Service

Pictured above are various blogs on food and cooking.
(Credit: Public Broadcasting Service)

Blogs have become one of the leading outlets for people to get their daily news and disseminate information. While some in the traditional media were initially  skeptical of blogging and its legitimacy, opinions began to change when bloggers started to uncover some major news stories. Bloggers have been responsible for breaking or advancing some of the biggest news stories in recent years including  President Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. More recently the story on the National Security Agency‘s secret collection of cell phone data  was broken by lawyer turned blogger turned journalist Glen Greenwald. Today, users of other social media and microblogging outlets that provide real time information such as Twitter are continuing to change who reports the news and how it is first reported. Some major news stories that are credited with being broken on Twitter include, the 2009 emergency landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River, and the exposure of a secret police operation scheduled to take place in New York City’s Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street movement in November 2011.



This one word and action, “blog”, has evolved from being known as an online diary to revolutionizing the news industry and social media.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore more words and word choices this month. Later this month we will hear from Peter Sokolowski the Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary on how new words are selected to be added to the dictionary.

Liz Faris, Associate
Collaborative Services, Inc.

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