Technology and the English language

Him: “I think I’ll do a blog about that”.
Me: “Do you really think it merits creating a new blog?”
Him: “What do you mean?”
Me: “Well, you said you were going to do a blog about it”.
Him: “So?”
Me: “Well, a blog is a unique web site. Did you mean a blog post?”
Him: “There’s a difference?”

This conversation, between me and an ostensibly well-informed acquaintance (who made a lot of money from technology, by the way) took place the other day. In its way, it’s emblematic of what always happens to technical terms when they run into everyday language. Once upon a time, some guys in Bell Labs invented a magical solid-state device called the ‘transistor’. It enabled us to make portable devices called ‘transistor radios’. But in no time at all, they became known as ‘transistors’. Then someone invented ‘videotape’, which enabled us to record ‘video tapes’. But in due course they became merely ‘videos’. Similarly, ‘text messages’ became ‘texts’. And now blog posts have become ‘blogs’.