Silence Not Golden?

Peter Merholz

Peter Merholz

Sunday my daughter-in-law Ashley chided me for not posting a blog for a long-time. I informed her that I had good excuses: 1. I had been working on a compendium of family genealogy and history, and 2. I was putting the finishing touches to “Jerkwater Town,” my second novel and sequel to “Falling Down.”

In truth, I just didn’t want to blog until I had something worth sharing that wouldn’t distract from my primary efforts listed above. Rather than risk offending my dear D.I.L., however, I scanned my brain—only took a few moments considering the limited number of cells I possess—and came up with a topic: Where the hell did the term “blog” originate? Simple enough question that should have only taken a moment of “googling” to answer. Of course not.

One source assures us that blog derives from “weblog,” coined in December 1997 by one Jorn Barger. A second source claims the term was first used in 1998. That source further asserts—unfortunately, without tongue in cheek—that the term is a derivative of “Joe Bloggs,” late 1960s British slang for which “Joe Blow” is the American equivalent. But wait. The term, this source alleges, goes back even further to 1860, when the term referred to a “’servant boy’ in one of the college houses” and arose as a perversion of “bloke.”

Both sources agree that the term weblog was shortened to “blog” in 1999. My original source credits Peter Merholz, who allegedly used the words “we blog” in the sidebar of his weblog.

So, Ashley, does this satisfy your need to hear from Joe Bloggs, servant boy?


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