Dear Miss Snark,
The popularity of blogging has presented a question about the terms "published" and "unpublished." A few friends use their blogs to post poems, memoir chapters, and one blogger spent two years writing his novel. Commenting in blogs nicely allows for feedback outside of a workshop setting.
Some writer friends say "No, no, no! Do not post anything in your blog that you will one day submit because your work will be considered already published and editors want only unpublished work."
I tell my fearful friends, a) if one locks their posts "Friends Only" then that is not published, and b) that published would be defined as an "edited" publication, whether that be online or in print. Unless they have public posts and pay an editor to proof their work before posting online, then they may submit any of their previously blogged works as unpublished.
Question is: Who's right? Or is the answer, c) it depends?
The answer is D: none of the above.
If it's on your blog, it's not published.
If it's in your daily diary, it's not published.
If it's in an email to the Divine Miss Snark, it's not published.
If it's pages in a manuscript sent to Killer Yapp for his endorsement, it's not published.
Is the clue stick looming?
Just because blogger uses the word "your blog has been published" when you post an entry doesn't mean Random House considers you competition.
Generally when editors/agents/publishing folks consider something published it has been put in book form, acquired an ISBN number, and is for sale.
(Literary zines looking for submissions will say work that has appeared on the net doesn't qualify as unpublished but that is a limited use of the word and does NOT apply to the industry as a whole)