You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

It’s time to clear the blog fog

We need fresh terms -- not all online writers are the same

The Lapps have at least 50 words for snow. Yet we have only one word for bloggers. Clearly, we are doing something wrong.

“Blogger” encompasses myriad online writers. There is the guy in his pajamas pounding out personal thoughts from his basement; a person who has created his or her own website to report on events; a one-person diary; sites where a group of people weigh in; and a person writing for an established news organization.

It makes no sense for them to be lumped into one word.

According to Advertising Age, 19% of kids aged 12-17 have their own blogs. (Should we call them klogs, for kid logs? Togs for tween-teen blogs?)

They shouldn’t be confused with Variety’s reporters and editors or the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, for example. Since these writers are pros, we could call them prologs. Perhaps, in honor of our Scandinavian friends, we should label this group as Lapps, i.e., folks who do Lucid and Professional Postings.

Since there are some genuinely mean people online who only enjoy denigrating others, can we call them floggers?

And then there are people who run a solo site that reflects a singular voice. Should Perez Hilton, for example, be blurred with the Huffington Post, which is founded on the notion of multiple voices? Hilton could be a solog, or sololog, while Huffington could be voxpop. Or they can invent their own names, but “blogger” doesn’t do it.

Way, way back at the end of the 20th century, a blog was a sort of an online diary, showing a person’s opinions and activities. Now “blogs” often bring in news and press releases — and many bloggers feel a need to add their personal voices to the news. So the “blog” terminology mixes facts with opinion, and there should be key distinctions there.

As we try to sort out the world of news, “blogger” confuses the issue. In print, the public has had most of the 20th century to differentiate between business journals, consumer papers, supermarket tabloids, fanzines, special-interest publications, advertorials, etc. We know the target readership of each, and we know each one’s level of credibility. The only people who lump them all together are politicians when they lament “the media,” as if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, National Enquirer, E! and Al Jazeera all speak with the same voice.

So when people rail against bloggers, I think they’re talking about the folks who mix fact with opinion and who “report” without ever doing any investigation.

On the other hand, maybe it’s too soon to invent words — perhaps people have enough new terms to think about.

The average English-speaker knows 10,000 to 20,000 words. And everyone has been forced to expand their vocabularies due to the massive changes in the 21st century — possibly greater than in any other time in modern history.

We have been bombarded with new words and names in the past decades, and it’s surprising how quickly they have entered our everyday lives. So before you turn on your flatscreen to get intel from the Live Mega-Doppler — obviously a vast improvement over those old tape-delayed mini-Dopplers — consider the following:

Terms you rarely heard a decade ago: Blog, emoticons, mo-cap, paywall, B2B, B2C, LCD, DVR, ISP, OLED (Organic LED), DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative), DI (Digital Intermediate), SMS, Stereoscopic 3D, ringtone, meta-tagging, user-applied tags, podcast, webisode, mobisode, gorno, mega-pixel, convo, biz-dev, con-call, WMD, LOL, ebook, iPod, and endless other e- and i- variations.

Names you never heard 10 years ago: Hulu, Wii, Netflix, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Wikipedia, Blu-ray, Skype, JibJab, TypePad.

Words being used differently from 10 years ago: Spam, firewall, agnostic, browser, platform, Blackberry, Flash, stream, search, plasma, paintbox, surfing, endemic, server.

Terms you never hear anymore: Floppy disc, mimeograph, data processing, Morse Code, teletype machine, telex, telegram, Betamax, file cards, abacus, slide rule, color TV, TV dial, Victrola, phonograph, LP, 45 RPM, eight-track, longplay, flip side, typewriter ribbon.

Endangered terms: Fast-forward, joystick, information superhighway.

It’s not just technology. We have learned such terms as barista, jihad, frenemy, staycation, transfat, stem cell, carbon footprint, e-coli, ebola, ethanol and smackdown.

In the past few decades, Bombay suddenly became Mumbai, Peking turned into Beijing, and somebody invented a country named Turks & Caicos. (It sounds like two L.A. street gangs, not a nation.)

The breakup of the Soviet Union created a flood of new names to remember, while a 20-year-old map of Africa has countries that have changed identities. So perhaps we should sympathize with the poor contestant on VH1’s sublime old show “America’s Most Smartest Model” who thought Darfur was a men’s cologne. (I’m not making this up.)

Congratulate yourself for increasing your vocabulary. On the other hand, you may not want to think about this too much. If you consider all the new words, jargon, tech and texting initials you’ve added recently, you might have to create your own new term: OMG OD.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • London Film Festival Posts 6% Rise

    London Film Festival Posts 6% Rise in Attendance for 2019 Edition

    The BFI London Film Festival reported a 6% rise in attendance for its 2019 edition, which wrapped on Sunday with the international premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.” “The Irishman” gala premiere, which was attended by Scorsese and cast Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel, was streamed via satellite from the Odeon Luxe [...]


    Alpha Violet Takes World Rights for Christos Nikou’s ‘Apples’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based sales agent Alpha Violet has acquired world rights for “Apples,” the feature directorial debut of Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou. The company and the director will present a teaser of the offbeat dramedy this week at the Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo (MIA) in Rome. “Apples” is the story of Aris, a solitary man in his late [...]

  • Advanced Imaging Society Honors 10 Women

    AIS Honors 10 Women in Tech

    Celebrating 10 years of achievement in entertainment technology, the Advanced Imaging Society today named 10 female industry innovators who will receive the organization’s 2019 Distinguished Leadership Awards at the its 10th annual Entertainment Technology Awards ceremony on October 28 in Beverly Hills. The individuals were selected by an awards committee for being significant “entertainment industry [...]

  • Nicolas Cage Hainan International Film Festival

    China's Hainan Film Festival Launches Golden Coconut Competition

    The deep-pocketed, government-run Hainan Island International Film Festival has launched a new competition section for its second iteration, set to take place from December 1-8. This year, ten ‘Golden Coconut Awards’ will be given out across three categories of films: feature-length, feature documentaries, and fictional shorts. Prizes will be presented for best picture, best director, [...]

  • Panda

    France's Troisième Œil Teams With China's CICC on Richard Dale's 'Panda Kingdom' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Troisième Œil Productions is teaming with Chinese partners to make its first international co-production with the premium documentary “Panda Kingdom,” and has brought BAFTA-winning director Richard Dale on board to helm it. The outfits China Aviation Pictures and CICC are co-producing the documentary with Troisième Œil Productions. The docu feature will explore the captive breeding [...]

  • Andhadhun receives AACTA nomination

    Indian and Chinese Titles Dominate AACTA Asian Award Nominations

    Three Indian and three mainland Chinese films are among the nine feature movies shortlisted for the Best Asian Film Award by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The Indian selections are box office hit “Andhadhun,” “Super Deluxe, and “Gully Boy,” which premiered in February at the Berlin festival. The Chinese trio includes “Shadow,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content