Merriam-Webster editors have announced that “blog” was the most requested word to their website this year, earning it a place as the top word of the year.
A “blog”, short for weblog, are the increasingly popular online journal-esque sites where individuals and groups share their thoughts on their lives, politics, business or whatever else interests them.
Blogs have been around for several years but were made mainstream by this election season which saw the rise and fall of Howard Dean – partly because of blogs – as well as such events as “Rathergate” where bloggers unearthed the falsehoods behind the CBS anchor’s statements.
The irony is that while blog was the most searched word of the year, it wasn’t actually included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Until now. The word was slated for inclusion in the online and print versions in 2005; however the demand has caused editors to take the rare move of introducing a word mid-stream.
The official definition of blog now stands as:
“Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer”
The blogosphere – that is the little corner of the web where the more than 10,000,000 current blogs live – is already saying this definition is too narrowly focused. They point to news sites where “reflections and commentary” simply aren’t appropriate. Either way, though, bloggers – people who blog – should simply be happy to have made it into the dictionary.
Many have said blogging is simply a fad that will likely die out. A move yesterday by Microsoft, though, seems sure to extend the life of blogs. Microsoft yesterday launched the beta of MSN Spaces – a personal blog, photo album and more for the nearly 250,000,000 MSN users and 150,000,000 MSN Messenger users.
Industry insiders are expecting MSN Spaces to become the single largest blogging community in the world in short order, and the internal team is planning for as many as 25,000,000 new blogs in the first week.