Blog lingo: a brief lesson

blogosphere As Chair of the Northfield Mayor’s Task Force on Blogosphere Grammar, I feel compelled to dispel a few misperceptions.

A blog is analogous to a newspaper. A blogger is like a reporter or columnist who publishes articles or opinions in the paper. Blog posts or entries are like the individual articles or columns. Readers who attach comments to a blog post are like newspaper readers who submit letters to the editor.

So here on Locally Grown, there are only three bloggers: me, Ross and Tracy. We author blog posts or blog entries, like this one. Many of you, our dear readers, attach comments to our blog posts. (Thus far in January, 125+ people have contributed comments).

There’s not really a good term to describe people who submit comments, just like there’s not a good term to describe people who submit letters to the editor in the newspaper.  I sometimes use the terms ‘commenter’ or ‘participant’ or ‘contributor’ here but all are a little awkward.

A string of comments attached to a blog post is best referred to as a blog discussion or a discussion thread. Other phrases such as message thread’ or ‘discussion topic’ are acceptable but they’re more commonly used in web-based forums, AKA message boards.

So here’s what correct blog lingo might look like in conversation:

I saw that you posted a comment the other day to a discussion thread on Locally Grown’s blog. It was that post of Tracy’s in which she…

See the Wikipedia’s List of blogging terms for more.


  1. Marcea Frazier said:

    Don’t reporters go to college and get a degree in Journalism or something like that to be a reporter?

    I don’t think a blogger should be compared to a reporter. Anybody can be a blogger but you can only be a reporter with the proper degree.

    January 26, 2008
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Sorry, Marcea, I should have been clearer about my analogy. I only meant to compare the structure of the two media, ie, a blog has a relatively small number of authors in the same way that a newspaper has a relatively small number of reporters/columnists; likewise, there can be many commenters on a blog in the same way that a paper can carry many letters to the editor.

    I posted this because I’ve increasingly been hearing/seeing people refer to those who attach comments here as ‘bloggers’.

    Does that help?

    January 26, 2008
  3. Holly Cairns said:

    Hmm, dammit Griff, can’t we just have fun. And can you start a discussion about Al Franken and his behavior at Carleton. I’d like more discussion on that… but not in a Dahle post.

    I remember watching go from discussion/ blog to newspaper/ magazine. Are you sure bloggers and newspaper folks are all that similar? I don’t know, Marcea. Seems like anyone can apply to be a reporter. Maybe it is verification and standards that make the two different.

    January 26, 2008
  4. Nick Benson said:

    Griff’s not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, he’s just making sure that after leaving a comment you don’t proudly boast to the kids “I was blogging on Locally Grown today,” only to have them do some followup research and make a fool of you at the dinner table, which is what would happen at my house.

    A blogger is the person who posts a story.

    A blogger is not the person who leaves a comment.

    If you want to be a blogger, start a blog.

    January 27, 2008
  5. Holly Cairns said:

    Hey, I have a blog called Prickly Burr. I killed the old Prickly Burr and started a new one. Oh, the freedom of it.

    I never boast to my kids since they take me down, every time.

    You’re Curt’s son, I take it. It’s nice that you communicate with your family on Hmm, that reminds me– sometimes my kids don’t even know what I am doing, and they don’t know what a blog is, probably. Not that they care, and seldom do they have time to read Maybe when they get to college.

    January 27, 2008
  6. John George said:

    Hopefully, we all don’t get “blogged down” in terminology. I suppose that could be “terminal” for some.

    January 27, 2008
  7. This topic serves as a handy way to point out the main distinction between this site and (another thing about which it seems many people are confused).

    Griff noted that “there are only three bloggers” on LG. In contrast, on we have hundreds of what he and Nick might refer to as “bloggers,” (though we prefer to use the term “authors”).

    In 2007, 146 different people wrote stories for our community blog, on which everyone is welcome to write a story or start a discussion about whatever community topic most concerns or interests them.

    January 28, 2008

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