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I’ve been trying to retire the word “blog” for years now. Mostly because I think it’s used as a catch-all term for many things digital that involve distributing content and stories regularly.
When I launched an 13-site community network at The Gazette Company in 2010, I called the sites “topical websites.” They covered very specific topics. Many people went along with the name. On the other hand: Once we explained what they were some people would respond “oh, like a blog?” Kind of, but not really.
Eastern Iowa News was a local news site that had over 100,000 visitors stop in. It was definitely not a blog, but yet some people called it that.
When I helped United Way in Cedar Rapids move its communication strategy into the 21st century, we were recognized nationally for our forward-thinking digital strategies and execution of them. We didn’t blog much. Our main strategy had nothing to do with blogging. And yet people asked: “We heard you do a lot through blogging. Can you teach us?” Um, technically, the only “blog” that we had was the Marketing Blog, where we shared some of the behind-the-scenes stories of how new things – like augmented reality print pieces, volunteer apps, etc. – were produced.
Listening to people over the years, I think this comes down to people wanting to categorize anything new into a bucket that they are already familiar with or at least have heard of.
What bucket that I know does this fit into? It’s not a traditional website, so it must be a blog. But a blog really, officially, literally is somebody’s web diary. It was initially called a web log, then shortened to blog.
But when we share topical expertise online that’s not really a diary (aka blog). Also blogger doesn’t have the same ring to it as subject matter expert, for example. Of course, calling yourself a subject matter expert also feels strange – until somebody else does it!
Why can’t we get rid of the term blog then? For once, we haven’t come up with alternative names that are better and many haven’t seen the need to do that. Some bloggers are very successful and they like to call themselves bloggers. Why would they change it, right? They wouldn’t probably. They make a living being a blogger.
Let’s say you are thinking of starting what some might call a blog, what might be a better name? Let’s start a list:
(Topic) Section (If it’s part of a larger site)
Answers for you in (topic)
See, it’s hard to come up with a new name for something that already exists, that some may think doesn’t need a new name, but perhaps could use a new name.
What do you think? Tweet me your thoughts and ideas for names at @ctrappe.