Birds are singing, the sun is shining and I am joyful first thing in the morning without caffeine. Why you ask? Because it is Word of the Year time (or WOTY as we refer to it around the office). Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year. This announcement is usually applauded by some and derided by others and the ongoing conversation it sparks is always a lot of fun, so I encourage you to let us know what you think in the comments.
Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.
unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.
As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”
“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”
Wondering what other new words were considered for the New Oxford American Dictionary 2009 Word of the Year? Check out the list below.
It just struck me that the decade is coming to an end. The most incredible decade imaginable by most anyone’s (born before 1985) standards. It’s also marks a decade of netZoo and WOOZradio. The early days look really funny in retrospect.
Just for kicks, let’s take a look at some of the hilarity that masqueraded as my nascent web presence:
Comic Sans — already sick of the limited web-friendly fonts available, I played a silly trick on the world and used the font that never dare say its own name backwards, or, as one friend righteously recently put it: “Comic Sans is the Mark of The Beast. Shit, I even used it back in 2000 when I went with the Message board-blog hybrid approach (or something).
I wanted to have a list of choice links — but I didn’t want to show my hand in the open. Not amid all the other highly SEO’d meta tagged engaging content on my “home page” (joke). After 9/11 I was a bit more willing to lay it all out there, thought not with quite the hyperlinked artistry of some. Basically, to copy and paste, this is how my linkblock –er, brailleroll — looked in July 2001:
I was already well-rooted as a snobby lo-fi music buff with an emphasis on Chicago indie. BUT clearly inspired from my stint as Smithsonian Folkways webmaster, I decided to profile my then-favorite albums alongside REAL AUDIO clips. Hahahaha. Mind you, before the mp3 renaissance of the late 90’s, Real Audio streams and broadcast.com were the-coolest-things-ever-invented. Surely these songs sounded better in Comic Sans.
By ’02 I had mellowed a bit. Live365 offered streaming at higher bandwidths and I focused a bit more on WOOZradio (which in its 10+ year existence has yet to break even for a month. I pay to play your music). What I could never do now that I loved doing then was music listings of concerts that I would go to in Chicago (where I lived) if I could clone myself.
Laugh at me now — I hope you had half as much fun as I had looking back into the past. The CRAZY thing is that our Comic Sans’d, hacked-together framed message board history is only a decade old. Come to think of it I should have stuck with the blank slate blogging style (with illustrations) I switched to around New Years Eve 2000. I guess I’ve been blogging for a while (with a few years off in between). We’ll look at those middle-aughts later (the WordPress years). What a decade its been!
What silly blog skeletons are gathering dust in your archive?
Across 38 countries citizens 76 percent of the participants think big, developing economies should reduce their emissions. Results are remarkably alike independently of the country’s level of socio-economic development. From Bangladesh to Belgium and Brazil, a clear 90 percent of citizens say it’s urgent to make a global climate deal at the UN conference in Copenhagen this December. This is the main result of an exercise carried out in 38 countries with very different levels of socio-economic development.
Over the past few days I’ve come across a wide variety of video documenting the run up to the G20 meetings in PIttsburgh as well as events, coverage, and commentary from the meetings and surrounding areas. Any large scale meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders is grounds for protest at various levels. And when police are prepared in riot gear trouble often tends to break out. That’s just how it is and will always be.