Elephant Painting

This is a guest post by Ari Herzog.

I confess guilt.

When I recently shared how to write a blog post, I specified the noun, “post.”

That was wrong of me. I should have echoed Phil Gerbyshak and specified the noun, “article,” as in, how to write a blog article.

Are we ignoramuses for interchanging the verbs used for publishing blog articles with the nouns used for the articles themselves?

I don’t think this is about semantics.

The blog, according to Wikipedia, is an ongoing diary or commentary and each entry is popularly called a “blog post.”

Why is each entry, this entry, any entry called a blog post?

Use the word as a verb and it makes sense, as in Danny posted his thoughts about elephants, but use the verb as a noun and you need a new verb. You can’t have it both ways. I suggest the term is overused and should be stricken from our lexicons. Interchange “posted” with “published” if you insist, but substitute “post” with “article” for the thing being distributed.

More to the point, if a blog is indeed a serial publication and qualifies for an International Standard Serial Number, then why not use the same terminology as other publications? Does the New York Times or Le Monde say they just posted something, or they wrote a news post? Of course not. Why should bloggers be different?

Let’s treat a blog as a part of media. Who agrees?

Thanks to Venson Kuchipudi for photographing the elephant.

Ari Herzog is a policy and communications specialist south of the border. He works dually as a new media consultant for public organizations and as an elected councilman. To learn more about him, check out his blog at ariherzog.com or follow him on Twitter at @ariherzog.

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31 comments
David Bennett
David Bennett

It's good that you have tackled this because we dealt with this every time we put up a post and posted an article.

We started by using the word 'post' to describe shorter pieces on the main page, and 'article' for longer pieces that deserved a page of their own.

That stopped working when the posts started getting longer...

Never again will I go down that road. Now we post articles.

Wes Towers
Wes Towers

Hi, Ari. Interesting point you have here. When I started writing for my website, I was all about using "article" instead of post. Then, as time progressed and I started reading the term "blog post" more and more, I find out that I started writing them down in my articles as well. So, usually when I catch myself writing "posting a blog post", I correct myself and make it "posting a blog article" or use "content" instead of "article".

Now, should we correct our ignorance? Yes, I think we should. I think being grammatically correct is how we could gain excellence as writers. (I have not reached the point where I literally call myself a blogger as well.)

Dennis Lively
Dennis Lively

Hello Ari!

Nice to read what you have to say. Good thoughtful information here.

What's the matter with just being an "author"? I'm an author whose works are published in books and magazines as well as on blogs.

I write an article.I submit that article to various sources of information and it becomes a paragraph in a book or an article in a magazine or newspaper or an article or post on a blog.

My actions are writing and submitting. When I'm asked to write a guest "post" for a blog, I'm still going to write and submit.

Seems simple to me...at least today!

Dennis Lively

Niall Harbison
Niall Harbison

I think one of the biggest problems that the general public have with blogs is that they actually have no idea what the word "blog" means. Most business and companies are scared of it and think of it in a negative way. I find that once you explain it is actually just a website that you can update on a daily basis they are actually surprised.

Rick LaPoint
Rick LaPoint

Even though I tend to wear a toga when in Rome, I usually call my, uhm, stuff, "Articles" because they are usually the length of an article you would see in print.

Something short, 500-600 words is what I would call a "Post."

What a maverick...

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

Hi Ari
I think that you are trying to wind us up.
Language is not a static thing, it evolves it progresses, it moves on.

"To boldly go" may be a split infinitive but sounds much better than to go boldly, so I'd use it.

Same with using the word whom after a preposition, nobody says "to whom does this belong?".
Other than the English Queen that is. LOL

And now verbs and nouns are being shuffled around a little, it's called "the verbing of nouns" - still sounds good to me and we understand what is being said.

So come on Ari let's forget about the semantics and boldly go with posting our posts.

Jeffrey Davis
Jeffrey Davis

Ari: I appreciate your attempts to make distinctions. Precision matters. However, you're addressing (I think) the connotations of "post" versus "article" instead of penetrating each word's appropriate use. "Post" suggests something diminutive; "article" sounds substantial as in "a magazine article."

I'm just thinking out loud here and don't want to sound like a know-it-all - because I don't pretend to know much about blogging. I'm just respecting your thoughts by continuing the dialogue.

But if we bloggers want to honor what we do, then I suggest we talk about how we can use words precisely; otherwise, we risk substituting a word because it makes what is often a "post" sound like something more elevated than what it is.

There are different kinds of entries we bloggers offer our tribes. What about something like the following as a guide?:
* entry (as in "journal entry" or "log entry"): a personal reflection, musing, or account
* post (as in "news post"): a news announcement, reference to a topical event, or summary of an actual article
* article (as in "magazine article" or "newspaper article"): a full treatment of a subject usually including references to sources of information; intended to be an account of a newsworthy subject with an angle
* opinion piece: speaks for itself
* essay/assay: a full, open-ended exploration of an idea or event (Gretchen Rubin has started writing "assays" each Wednesday on her Happiness Project blog)

Do these distinctions matter? I think so. Language is a blogger's medium, and if a blogger aspires toward excellence and mastery of her or his medium, then precision matters.

It would be interesting for us bloggers to coin new words for new types of writings unique to blogging. But maybe we first need to inform ourselves of what forms of writing have preceded blogs. That way we can draw upon these forms and be knowledgeable of and not ignorant of our medium.

What do you think? Am I full of it?

CathyWebSavvyPR
CathyWebSavvyPR

Intellectually, I prefer the term blog article, in part because that would help clarify in the general public's mind what a blog is or does...better. But I usually say blog post, or post. Although to differ with your point about us being ignorant, when I looked up the definition of "post" one dictionary included it, while another did not. Post is used as noun referring to the web: 6) "Computers. a. a message that is sent to a newsgroup. b. text that is placed on a web site. See: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/post (Amer. Heritage dict., but Miriam Webster's online does not have this 6th definition).

- and really I think that the act of blogging, originally was more like the verb usage of the word...you posted your words (post - to affix a notice in a public place) on the internet and hoped someone came and read them. To me - an entry is something more private as diaries are- which blogs, by nature are not, especially now.

So the word "post," to me, has evolved. Our language is not static, use of this word in this way has been around for many years and despite this discussion, will probably stay.

On a related note, I was reading an old book on how to land a newspaper column - and realized just how much many of today's blogs and their posts or articles remind me of the old-style column(my 1st job included writing a column, called Catherine's Corner, for my little local newspaper :~). Columns, usually focus on a theme or related topic from week to week, and are mix of factual, informative info and personality, POV and opinion. But I know that definition of a blog post is too clumsy to work.

Cathy Larkin

Ingrid Abboud
Ingrid Abboud

Hey Ari,

This is a thought-provoking "article" that you "published" here :).

How do you feel about saying - "Ari published an interesting piece"? Would it be interpreted to mean "blog article"? Or does it depend on the context it's in?

Thanks for your thoughts Ari.
Have a great weekend.

Cheers

MikeHale
MikeHale

If "blog" is short for web log shouldn't they be called "entries"? I use post, article and entry interchangeably.

Michael Martine
Michael Martine

Well at least you didn't call a post a blog. That just makes me want to punch people.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

How does a word correlate with length? Does the New York Times change its word use depending on how many words a columnist writes?

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Yet you still use the verb, "to post." Why?

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Nothing wrong being an author, but with the connotation that authors only write books and magazines and the stereotype of bloggers not writing either, hence the background to my article.

Cheers!

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Updated websites. I like that.

I tend to describe the difference as static vs dynamic. Doesn't have to be a blog, for that matter. As long as the web content is different when a search engine robot returns, it works for my analogy.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

If 500 words is short to you, what do my 243 above words count as? ;)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

To boldly go without questioning grammar will bring us into George Orwell's mind and the grammar of "1984," which may not be where we want to boldly go.

Deep thoughts for Saturday.

Michael Martine
Michael Martine

Yeah, but did you post a post? And doesn't that sound kind of stupid? I think that's the awkwardness Ari's referring to. We kind of backed ourselves into a corner on this one.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Using your logic, is someone full of him or herself when writing about "how to write a blog article?"

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Great points, Cathy.

Perhaps I should have added above that I, like you, have written hundreds of bylined articles for local newspapers. So, I'm biased. I've never viewed myself as a blogger, only as a writer. A web writer, if you will.

CathyWebSavvyPR
CathyWebSavvyPR

There's my Gravitar - I typed my email address in wrong.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Ingrid wrote a story.
Ingrid published an article.
Ingrid typed a blog post.
Ingrid posted an entry.

Use what makes you comfortable. As long as you cite where the item was written/published/typed/posted, whether a newspaper, a blog, a ship's log, wherever, you're right that the context of location is the key.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Is an entry in a log, or is an EVENT in a log? A ship's log comprises events.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Heh, what makes *me* punch people is when I hear anonymous commenters on newspaper article websites called bloggers.

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

Well said, Mr. Martine!

I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life, yet for some odd reason, I've always favored "publishing articles" over "posting posts."

Should we treat our blogs as part of the media? I dunno. I'm not so sure I want to be associated with the media at this point. ;)

David Bennett
David Bennett

Ari, I am not explaining our thoughts processes, just what happened. What happened was that we bought into the idea that what a blog has are 'posts' - now we think differently.

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

I agree Michael
It does sound silly.
I probably wouldn't write "post a post" but I may say it.

I may even post a post on the garden post, who knows. LOL

Lori Gosselin
Lori Gosselin

Ari, a "web writer" sounds good. I'm new to blogging and still trying to get myself to like the word "Blog". I know it's short for web log, but I would like to see a new way to describe what's happening now, which I believe is a far cry from what was happening when the word was coined.

I don't like the word blog, but I love the blogosphere (not a bad word, ironically) and I'm falling hard for this bunch of people who call themselves bloggers and are starting to count me among them.

My vote: "published articles". If we don't take ourselves seriously, why should anyone else?

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

What about "publishing posts" or "posting srticles?" Do you favor those, too?

And why wouldn't you associate a blog as a medium? If blogs are part of social media, then they are technically a medium. And, a medium is part of media. ;)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

If I click your linked name, what will I visit? Your published articles? What are the articles considered collectively if not a blog?

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