Bill Roth, Ulitzer Editor-at-Large

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The Most Annoying Aspect of Web 2.0

Slanguage Creep: Developer Edition

Bill Roth's Blog

One of the more annoying aspects of Web 2.0, etc., is the injection of neologisms, protologisms, or just plan made up words. In fact, I do not think that I have heard a talk from my friends Jay Simons or David Meyer in the last year that has not included a protologism. (I like the word protologism better, since it indicates something not quite finished, completed, or even valid). This include words like "folksonomy".

Comcast has taken this one step further with its Triple Slanguage contest. As I mentioned in my developer blog during BEA World, CIO Andy Baer has mentioned that Comcast has a contest to come up with new words, which describe the things you can do with their Triple Play, but they are pretty broadly applicable, for example:
  • Televisiphonernetting: simultaneously using the TV, phone, and Internet at the same time
  • Quizjacking: Using fast Internet to get the answers to a TV Quiz show 
  • Snurfing: Surfing where you are supposed to be on the phone.
The last one made me wince, since I have been accused of this not infrequently. (Interestingly though, the accuser is always a female.)

While the Comcast contest is entertaining and funny, I am not sure all these protologisms are a good thing in terms of Web 2.0, since they are off-putting and obscurantist to the general public. We need to be more clear when describing these technologies, not less clear.

More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.

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