Heh — anatomy of a blogism


It’s one of the commonest words in the blogosphere. Yet what does it mean? I may not be the best person to answer that question: after all, I tend to spend more time writing my own blog (and even more time writing my own non-blog materials) than I do reading the blogs of others.

It’s very common to see “heh” as a one-word post linking to an article that (presumably) corresponds to the author’s way of thinking about things.

Increasingly, I’ve been starting to see the word used disapprovingly, in the sense of “you might think that’s funny, but I sure don’t.”

Perhaps what it really means is “those of us enlightened enough to understand what this is about get the idea, and we hereby pat each other on the back for being part of that select group.”

Then consider this item from a recent John Scalzi post in the comments thread of Whatever:

Heh. Well, gievn the number of stupid grammar errors I make on the Whatever, I’m not about to start picking someone apart on those grounds.

The comment was made in response to a comment criticizing the grammar of another comment made by a “publisher” (the implication being that all “publishers” should have impeccable grammar). Scalzi seems to be agreeing with the sentiment, but also gently reminding the poster that nothing’s more annoying than a comments thread that degrades into a discussion of grammar. For such an ambiguous term, it’s impressive that Scalzi managed to use it convey irony. Scalzi’s comment is made even more ironic by the (deliberate?) spelling error it contains.

That said, I tend think “heh” is used most often when the poster has nothing constructive to stay, but still somehow feels compelled to speak.


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2 Responses to Heh — anatomy of a blogism

  1. John Scalzi says:

    Personally, I use “heh” to signify mild amusement. It’s better than using an argin’-fargin’ emoticon.

  2. dave says:

    Yes, mild amusement. That’s probably what most people mean. Definitely better than emoticons. Personally, I’m not sure I’ve ever used “heh” before today (though I confess to occasionally resorting to an emoticon ;) ). I think I’m most annoyed when Glenn Reynolds does it in one of his smug links.

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