March 4, 2006
@ 02:16 AM

In the past I've mentioned that I don't like the phrase Web 2.0 because it is vacuous and ill-defined making people who use it poor communicators. However, some of the neologisms used by computer geeks are much worse because they just plain dumb. One such neologisms is blogosphere which started off as a joke but is now taken seriously by various pundits.

The blog post that has gotten my goat is Steve Ruble's post The Center of Gravity is Shifting where he writes

One of the themes I kept hitting over and over is that the blogosphere is not where all the action is going to be in the months ahead. Yes, you read that right. Don't adjust your set.

For sure the b'sphere will continue to remain the largest galaxy in the social media universe in the short term. It's a major center of gravity that pulls people toward it. However, over the last few months a number other social media galaxies have rapidly risen to prominence. Take YouTube, digg and MySpace. These are just three examples, but they are drawing huge audiences. Richard Edelman is gushing over a fourth -

The first thing that confuses me about this post is that it implies MySpace isn't part of the blogosphere. Why not? Is it because Technorati's coverage of MySpace is sorely lacking as Steve Rubel claims? Do the media talking heads really think that Technorati covers all the blogs in the world? After all services like MySpace, MSN Spaces and Xanga each have more than the 30 million blogs that Technorati claims to cover. This isn't the first time I've seen someone assume Technorati's numbers actually measure the total number of blogs out there.

The thought that one can lump all the blogs in the world into a lump category called the blogosphere and generalize about them seems pretty silly to me. We don't make similar generalizations about people who use other social applications like email (the mailosphere), instant messaging (the IM-osphere) or photo sharing sites (the photosphere). So what is it about blogs that makes such a ridiculous word continue to be widely used?


Saturday, March 4, 2006 3:22:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
What is it about blogs that makes the word "blogosphere" widely used? I think it's the urge of pundits to claim everyone to be within their sphere.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 6:27:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
There is nothing wrong with the word "blogosphere", it is the understanding that is flawed. As it is with most nascient phenomena; time will bring clarity to the concept.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 9:03:04 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Boycotted using the word when I first heard it.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:22:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Yeah, and while we're at it, let's throw out "World Wide Web" and "Usenet" too. Stupid web and news geeks.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:29:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare: I don't have a problem with the term, myself. But to answer your question...

"So what is it about blogs that makes such a ridiculous word continue to be widely used?"

Unlike email and IM, blogs create a sense of *place*. They feel solid and fixed, even as the "neighborhoods" they inhabit morph around and through them. People need a way to describe not just the broader online space they inhabit, and "blogosphere" is the best anyone could manage.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:31:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Wow, that's some sloppy editing.

Strike out the "not just" in the final sentence above.
Saturday, March 4, 2006 9:21:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

Well, a lot of the time the word "blog" is taken to mean a site that outputs a feed (I'm not saying that's necessarily in the definition, but it is a standard part of blog software). MySpace pages and blogs don't seem to output a feed (at least, I couldn't find one when I checked), which might be one of the reasons why some people don't see MySpace as part of the blogosphere.
Sunday, March 5, 2006 1:37:09 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm guilty. I use the word and I even like the word. I never even realize there was so much resentment towards the word :) Personally, I use it to reference blogs as a whole, not some elitest distinction between some blogs being "in" and others being "out".

I think you're getting worked up over nothing Dare :P
Monday, March 6, 2006 11:14:28 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm with Dare, I despise the term 'blogosphere' and its semantics. I think half of the problem is the definite article 'the'. I mean 'the blogosphere' sounds way more concrete than 'blogs' (or my preferred 'blogdom'), and this gives it the boundaries and owners and all the problems above. Abstract nouns rule. (The other half of the problem is the -osphere suffix, don't get me started on that.)
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