A couple of weeks ago, the Inner Minx posted a piece, "nom de blog" — read it if you haven’t, it is very funny (is milkman humour local to Britain or does it travel?). I’ve been meaning for a while to write about titles of blogs, which in some cases are the same as the blogger’s name — Skint Writer and Tribe’s Blog — but not always. So here goes.
The titles I like best are those that are both meaningful and witty (usually via a pun). A perfect example is Content Matters , Barry Graubart’s "occasional ruminations on the convergence of content and technology". So the blog discusses "things to do with technological products loosely related to publishing", but also gives a clear message: "what is important is the information". Barry’s recent posting on the future of magazines is a good example of the perspective you can expect from his blog.
Other favourite blogs in this category, which I shall call meaningful double entendre, are The Shifted Librarian, Going Underground, Books, Inq. and Reel Fanatic. The Inner Minx herself can be counted among these: wit, self-expression, creativity and naughtiness are neatly encapsulated in her blog title.
Some blog titles just come on out with it and say what the blog is about, no messing. Ian Hocking’s This Writing Life is about him: his book writing and his life. There you go. Let’s call this the wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) category of blog title. Some other titles from among my top blogs are: Creating Passionate Users, Amy on the Web, (double plug coming up) Skint Writer, Evil Editor, Reading Middlemarch, Grumpy old Bookman.
Then there is the brand category, which I call the type of blog where the blogger’s name is also the blog title. Sometimes the person’s name is perfect for the purpose, for example deblog (Debra Hamel) or Vitriolica’s Webb’s ite (the Webb sisters, whose wonderful url is http://unkemptwomen.blogspot.com). Others in this category are Keris Stainton, Niall Kennedy, John Barlow and so on. (This posting is exhausting, putting in all these links, it is almost as bad as moving
house your blog.) For brand blogs, you have to know who the person is to know what their blog is about. OK if you are J. K. Rowling, but……can backfire. Steve Clackson uses a variant by calling his blog Sand Storm, the title of his novel. Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail is coming out soon as a book — but which tail is wagging which dog in his case?
Plain obscure, or do I mean random? My favourite among these (I think, blog titlers are a very inventive species!) is qwghlm, whose subtitle is "because all the other domain names were taken". others are: Chicken Yoghurt, MetaxuCafe, New Tammany College, Infoneognostic. Many of these names do have meaning once you visit or get to know the blog better, but you wouldn’t know the meaning without knowing the blog. Actually, I think I will call these cognoscenti blogs, becuase their titles have meaning to a small group of people, or maybe only one person (Petrona is Petrona becuase I wanted to call her Petronus, the alter ego from Harry Potter, but the name was taken, so I feminised it — now who would know that apart from me?).
I have got very tired of linking, so I am going to list a few more blog titles that I think really do work, but not link them because it is such a s–l–o–w process. If you want to visit the blogs, which I recommend if you haven’t seen them already, they are all linked in Petrona 2 (my bloglines subscription list) over to the left and down a bit.
Action Potential (blog of Nature Neuroscience)
Information wants to be Free (blog of library web pioneer Meredith Farkas)
Micropersuasion (Steve Rubel, needs no introduction)
Nascent (Nature Publishing Group new technology blog)
The Daily Transcript (Alex Palazzo, cell biologist — transcript, geddit?)
Retired Ramblings of Tony Hatfield
Crime Fiction Dossier
(that’s enough blogs, ed.)