f/k/a . . . the archives

January 31, 2006

a few more words on eschewing “blawg”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:23 pm

Here’s a quick summary of my position against calling law-oriented

weblogs “blawgs“.  It now appears at the top of my original piece, the

full-length essay (with updates), “let’s make the term ‘blawg’ obsolete.”



Quick Summary:  Lawyers don’t need a special word to

designate their weblogs.  Weblog technology is not being

used in any special way at law sites.  No other group or

profession has coined a special word for their category

of weblogs.  By insisting on using the trivializing, confusing

and too-cute word “blawg,” lawyers appear to be elitist, clan-

nish, or childish (likely, all three).  Those who agree can help

stop the terminology from becoming a generally-accepted

part of the English language (and spread worldwide), by not

using the term “blawg” and by declaring their choice publically.

 

umpireS

Yes, there are many things I would prefer to be writing right now, and

that you would surely prefer to be reading about – so I hope I can

let the subject percolate on its own for awhile.  Before leaving it,

though, I want to say that there was no need for Denise Howell (who 

coined “blawg”) to print, and Dennis Kennedy to second, a not-very

veiled insult of anyone who cares about this topic. The insult was com-

pounded by not even bothering to link to the major posts raising the

issue — mine, and the earlier argument from Kevin O’Keefe, who is not

exactly a minor character on the legal weblog scene.  Not linking, of

course, made it harder for their readers to encounter our arguments

and less likely that search engines would find them. 

 

                                                                                   umpireSN

 

On the bright side, Evan Schaeffer was good enough to point to
Kevin O’Keefe’s post and this one (as well as the defense by the Editor

at Blawg Review (“Who let the blawgs out?“), and to risk being unpopular

by reiterating his position on the word “blawg:”


“Not only does the indiscriminate use of the word “blawg”

lead to obscurity, but it gives readers the unintended impres-

sion that the weblog writer is running a private club.”

He received quite a few dissenting Comments, including one from

the well-known Jargon Sheriff, Monica Bay, who stated:


“. . . i don’t mind blawg.

 

“Why: because it adds meaning to blog. It accurately

describes a specific thing. You see “blawg” and you

know that it is a law-related blog. It defines, it narrows,

and it doesn’t obfuscate.”

My response at Legal Underground was:


Monica, I don’t agree that “blawg” adds significant meaning.

If your audience already knows the proprietor is in the law

community or the topic is law, it adds nothing. If they don’t

know that, just tell them, rather than using a word that does

confuse the uninitiated, and can refer to anything from the 

cultural musing of George Wallace’s “Fool in the Forest,” and

my punditry & poetry weblog, to How Appealing‘s small blurbs,

and the major essays of Judge Posner.

Judge Posner.

Of course, I should have added that “blawg” is also applied to both the  

personal diaries of law students and the topical legal and political

commentary of well-known law professors and public intellectuals. 

 

Come back to the fold, Dear Scold.


tiny check  Again, let me stress that I am not against

new words, nor trying to dictate what others should

do. 

 

tiny check  Two years ago, I wrote a post pointing out that a

lot of the fun of being in a weblog community was lost

when Comments and Trackbacks are deleted because

the weblog owner disagrees with what was said.  Today,

I’m waiting to see if Dennis Kennedy will ever post the

Comment I left at Between Lawyers two days ago, con-

cerning the use of the word “blawg” in Europe. or allow

the related Trackbacks.

 

update (11 PM, Jan. 31): Last Friday, Dennis Kennedy pointed to a

post by Edwin Jacobs, at his Law & Justice weblog, saying “Interest-

ingly, I noticed in the post that legal blogs are apparently being called

‘blawgs’ around the world.”  I’m happy to see that Mr. Jacobs has

now clarified his own feelings about the word “blawg,” in Comments

at his own site and at Blawg Review #42.   Here’s what Edwin had

to say: 


“Indeed, I prefer to use the term “blawg” to explain it and when

it appears in the name of some site/blog I am citing.  Otherwise,

I use “lawyer blogs” or “law-related blogs”. The reason is that it

better says what it really is, I think, i.e. a blog related to law or

made by a lawyer in his capacity of a lawyer, e.g. not about his

pet or hobby or whatever.

 

“I think it’s a simple matter of communication with the target

audience and I don’t make a big issue about it. I don’t care which

word is used, as long as it is clear what person A is communicating

to person B. But I think in communicating with non-lawyers, or with

non-tech savvy lawyers for that matter, it just makes more sense to

talk about a “law related website, lawblog, …” instead of “blawg”.

Frankly, even using the word “blog” is often complicating things.

So, use whatever you want, but “keep it simple” for your target

audience.”

 

 

                                                                                                                  dictionaryN

 



heavy clouds

the snowplows’ rumble

drifts into town

 

 


 

 

 


snowmelt

he changes into play clothes

after school

 

 

 

 






a fat horse

gallops with the others

a bit behind

 

 

 

 

 

 

swaying branch

the warbler’s song

rises and falls

 

 

 

 



“a fat horse” & “swaying branch” from

                something to sing about, pawEprint 58 (2003)

“heavy clouds” from HSA Members’ Anthology (2003)

“snowmelt” – from Walking the Same Path 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Greetings David,

    No insult (veiled or otherwise) intended, just my reaction to something I see as inversely proportionate in importance to the volume of attention it receives. The post was meant as humorous. (If I’d wanted to be both humorous and insulting, I might have gone for something more like the wrap-up of this: http://www.wordlab.com/2006/01/dont-panic.cfm.) Re linking, the benefit of pointing to the searches I did was that anyone interested can find a better collection of on-topic posts there than anything I was willing to put together. All I know is you, Kevin, and Ed. have each done several posts; I would have had to track them all down, and still exclude others who have commented if I wasn’t willing to do yet more work. (Technorati’s tools offer an exceptionally welcome alternative to this kind of mindnumbing and time-gobbliing effort.) I also knew readers would be sent your way from the LL posts to which I linked.

    Comment by Denise Howell — February 1, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  2. Greetings David,

    No insult (veiled or otherwise) intended, just my reaction to something I see as inversely proportionate in importance to the volume of attention it receives. The post was meant as humorous. (If I’d wanted to be both humorous and insulting, I might have gone for something more like the wrap-up of this: http://www.wordlab.com/2006/01/dont-panic.cfm.) Re linking, the benefit of pointing to the searches I did was that anyone interested can find a better collection of on-topic posts there than anything I was willing to put together. All I know is you, Kevin, and Ed. have each done several posts; I would have had to track them all down, and still exclude others who have commented if I wasn’t willing to do yet more work. (Technorati’s tools offer an exceptionally welcome alternative to this kind of mindnumbing and time-gobbliing effort.) I also knew readers would be sent your way from the LL posts to which I linked.

    Comment by Denise Howell — February 1, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  3. Hi, Denise,  Thank you for your explanation.  As you know, you’re still one of my favorite webiverse denizens.

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 1, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  4. Hi, Denise,  Thank you for your explanation.  As you know, you’re still one of my favorite webiverse denizens.

    Comment by David Giacalone — February 1, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  5. Thanks, and likewise!

    Comment by Denise Howell — February 1, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

  6. Thanks, and likewise!

    Comment by Denise Howell — February 1, 2006 @ 5:35 pm

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