Here's a weird set of connections: Blogs and Partial Birth Abortion

I had an interesting discussion with David Weinberg recently about the future of blogs. One of the side trips of the discussion was that age old question: What's a blog? Is it a blog?

My gut reaction was, who cares what you call it. David wrote up something great recently about when Blogs Get Really Popular in which he touched on the question of what the word blog will mean over time.

In that excellent piece, David argues (although he would argue that he is not arguing) over time the term blog will blurr to mean "any place where a person gets to speak their mind more than once." I might add, perhaps, modulo Clay Shirkey's two qualifiers: simple enough so anyone can figure out how to do it, and quick enough so that someone can do it once or twice a day.

But all the same, David's formulation of the term blog would include all these: conventional single voice blogs (like this one,) multi-person blogs (like this one) mass blogs (like this one) and public discussion places of all kinds (like this one.)

Well as I say, my gut reaction was, who cares what you call it. But I am recanting that opionion.

I think it matters a lot what it's called and what definition is adopted by people. Admitedly one spends a lot of time debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Admitedly also, these definitions can be fluid and can change over time. So one shouldn't get hung up on a definition, and just try to understand what people are talking about.

(Ok, tired of being held in suspense? It struck me in reading about the debates in congress about abortion how incredibly loaded the term 'partial birth abortion' is.

And more than that: I am sure that the action of the congress as well as the fervent beliefs of people has been profoundly affected by that term. I know it affected me and I have to remind myself that Marketing is everything.

By the way I don't understand the issues well enough to voice my opinion on the congressional action, but it sure illustrates starkly the power of words.)

The power of words, the nuances of definition, the politics of word choice.

Like anything I am sure that the term 'blog' will get refined, segmented, politicized, redefined, and be subject to fashions and trends.

But certainly among the leading thinkers in this emerging space it is quite worthwhile to try to arrive at meaningful choices and distinctions. So yes, it is a bit like debating how many angels dance on the head of a pin, but hey, that's our lot in life.

So the punchline: One of the keys to term 'blog' is it's representation of a single voice, a specific point of view. For me, when that's not present, it's not a blog.
Posted on October 26, 2003 and filed under Life.