The Versatile Blogger Award

We’re excited to present this special guest post.

The always awesome Grammar Monkeys have nominated me, Wordnik, for a Versatile Blogger Award. The rules say I need to list seven interesting things about myself and nominate 15 other blogs. And away we go!

Here are seven things you may not know about me:

  1. My birth name was Alphabeticall (yeah, I like Wordnik better too).
  2. Although I was born in 2008, I’ll only be turning one next month. (Guess why.)
  3. My favorite word is madeupical.
  4. I only eat foods that are portmanteaus (tangelo, turducken, cherpumple, etc.).
  5. I live above a bank.
  6. My roommates annoy me blow off steam by playing ping pong and shooting each other with Nerf guns.
  7. I’m still gunning for a “take this word and shove it” feature.

And here are 15 blogs I love (in no particular order):

And the rules! Feel free to disregard.

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs. [Or tweeting, like I did.]

Thanks again Grammar Monkeys!

Beware the Econorrhea

Trevor Butterworth is the editor of the absolutely fantastic blog, which has been my favorite media watchdog publication for the past few years. They post authoritatively on topics like media coverage of health issues and the use and abuse of statistics, and happily their quantitative bent is accompanied by a joy in language, particularly of the so-bad-it’s-good variety.

Last month Trevor posted a Wordie list, subtitled Econorrhea, of neologisms and portmanteaux having to do with the economic implosion, which he has now worked into a Jabberwocky parody* on Recessionwire—which is itself compiling the beginnings of what could be something fun: a recession lexicon. It’s all worth checking out, in particular STATS.

* Check the comments too: he’s being pursued by the Lewis Caroll Society.

Breaker Breaker, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

I was talking with Peter Kafka of SAI yesterday, and he mentioned John Markoff’s disdain for blogs. Sure enough today I was putzing around, as I compulsively do, and came across this:

“John Markoff covers Silicon Valley. He began writing about technology in 1976 and joined The Times in 1988. He gained some notoriety several years ago when he stated that he thought blogs might be the CB radio of the 21st century. He still believes that.”

Not sure how I missed this the first time around but… John, are you on crack?* The innovations wrought by blogs are here to stay.**

CBs died because better technology came along, not because they were a bad idea. We now use cellphones to talk in our cars, and the web to chat with strangers in stilted lingo. With blogs as with CBs, the underlying technology and nomenclature may well change, but the needs they fulfill remain, and will be met.

Many of the characteristic traits of blogs–reader comments, frequent updates, a personal voice–are being incorporated into other forms of media. And as that happens, blogs per se may fade away. Maybe “blog” will be put out to pasture with “information superhighway,”***.

Though I suspect they will stick around and evolve, and we’ll just keep calling them blogs. It’s a succinct and useful word, where “information superhighway” was always an awkward eight syllables, dated on the day it was coined. But just because we don’t call it the “information superhighway” anymore doesn’t mean the Internet isn’t all that and a bag of donuts. Likewise blogs, by that or any other name.

* John, I don’t really think you’re on crack. Hyperbole is a rhetorical device typical of blogs.

** Self-assured pronouncements by those totally unqualified to make them? Also typical.

*** Larding your “posts” with “links”, either for informative purposes or in hopes of getting “link love”**** back from those you’ve linked to? Again, a typical blogging strategy.

**** Bloggers love cutesy phrases like this.

Donald, I’m Sorry

I just checked a rarely-used account of mine, and read for the first time an email from Keith M. Urbahn, an aide to Donald Rumsfeld. He sent an audio file of the speech I mocked Rumsfeld for last month.

I stand by some of my mockery–comparing email and talk radio is silly–but Rumsfeld does not say “pods,” as quoted in Sharon Weinberger’s original post, which I in turn quoted. He clearly says “blogs,” which makes a lot more sense. I should have hunted down the original audio sooner. Weinberger, too, has updated her post with the correction.

Enough time has passed that I figured this merited a new post, in addition to updating the original. This is a blog about words, so I should try to get them right, and correct myself when I don’t. I apologize for the error.