Friday, November 24, 2006

Brad L. Graham: Blog History's Richard III

I have been part of this "blogging family" for a long time now, but I haven't yet posted an actual entry. As a matter of fact, I consider this my first post on a certified blog. My first (and maybe last) post is going to be on blogging, since the blog has always been a bit of a mystery--a mystery that I've finally decided to crack. Unlike most modern day mysteries, however, it can't be solved merely by typing "blog" into google; instead, I decided I needed to pull out the big guns. So I went to the online OED.

According to this good people at OED, the term "blog" was coined on May, 23 1999; fittingly, the word was officially coined on a blog (bradlands.com), during a discussion of another blog (peterme.com). Interestingly, then, the sentence that makes Brad Graham at bradlands.com the coiner of "blog" is one in which Brad is giving credit to Peter Merholz for coining "blog." Check it out: "Cam points out lemonyellow.com and PeterMe decides the proper way to say ‘weblog’ is ‘wee'- blog’ (Tee-hee!)." I wonder if Peter finds this as funny as Brad does; perhaps "PeterMe" didn't tee-hee when he found himself documented as the second person to use the term "blog," even though the first person documented using it is quoting him! The second use is from Peter Merholz's website five days after the term was coined. Here it is: "For those keeping score on blog commentary from outside the blog community." As anyone can see, Peter uses the term familiarly, as if he has been using it for years. If you go to Peter's actual May 28, 1999 entry (http://www.peterme.com/browsed/browsed0599.html), you will see that Peter uses "blog" four times in this post; he also uses the term "blogger" once (this word, I'm relieved to say, Peter does get credit for).

The good news is that, despite the attempt of the reactionary OED to cover up the true coiner of "blog," Wikipedia gets the story right; of course, if OED got their way, there would be no Wikipedia to tell us the truth about these things--but that is a whole different story. In any event, it's interesting to learn that, even at its linguistic conception, the blog was dogged by lies, cover-ups, and heated controversies. I am proud to be family member of this wonderful blog, which is carrying on Peter M.'s renegade tradition.

1 comment:

Betty & Bimbo said...

Betty, geeky amateur blog historians everywhere, and basically everyone, sincerely hope this is not your last post, Magwich. You have enlightened us about our own history. Give us more. And happy Thanksgiving!