So I am figuring out an identity with which to post entries on the ACLU blog, and the name that stuck in my head was “Blog Maven.” I wanted to make sure I was using the word correctly so I looked it up at Wikipedia. I think it is even more apt than I suspected!
A maven (also mavin or mayvin) is an expert in a particular field, usually one who is self-appointed and who seeks to pass his knowledge on to others.
The word comes from the Yiddish meyvn (מבֿין), with the same meaning, which in turn derives from the Hebrew mayveen, meaning to understand. It was first recorded in English around 1952, and popularised in the 1960s by a series of commercials for Vita Herring created by Martin Solow, featuring “The Beloved Herring Maven.”
Since the 1980s it has become more common since William Safire adopted it to describe himself (“the language maven”).
Malcolm Gladwell used it in his book The Tipping Point (Little Brown, 2000) to describe those who are the first to pick up new trends. The work of Safire and Gladwell has made the word particularly widely used in their particular contexts. The word is mainly confined to American English.
Some have identified the maven not just as a Jewish word, but as a Jewish concept. One site on Jewish language states, “A maven is an expert, and it’s something that every Jew thinks he is on every subject that exists.” This highlights the fact that a maven being self-appointed, following his advice is an act of faith.
However, it’s a little too fun for the serious work of reforming the Patriot Act, so I have to think of something else. But here at lotusmedia, I am now the Official Blog Maven. Bow down before my arrogant wisdom! 😉