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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Since Facebook, friends aren't what they used to be

Those of you who despair over how much the internet and texting are changing the language, look away. For the rest, here's a post from Jeremy Toeman redefining a few words from today's socially networked world:

We are currently in the midst of a transformation, caused in a large part by the evolution of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc. These networks are clearly here to stay, and will evolve on their own to introduce new features and services as well as adapt to the changing needs of their users. In the mean-time, I’m noticing that a few very common words are losing their meaning, specifically due to their various implementations online (warning: much sarcasm and cynical writing follows, don’t take it too seriously if you are easily offended)…
Friend
Then: Someone you knew, had a personal relationship with, occasionally spoke to, and frequently drank beers with.
Now: Someone who found your email address and typed it into Facebook and/or LinkedIN. You may have met said person at a conference once, and possibly even conversed with for 5 or more minutes.

Like
Then: Quite a few meanings, but the most common one being a word to describe a person, place, or thing you have a positive feeling about.
Now: Two meanings: one is a word used three times per sentence for no apparent reason, the other is an item you (might have) read on FriendFeed and want to let others know they should read it as well. A very cynical variant on the latter is when the item is being liked because you want the author to know you read their content.

Rumor
Then:Something overheard and/or speculated, but not substantiated.
Now:Fact until absolutely proven incorrect.

Read
Then: To ingest all the contents of a document.
Now: To scan a headline for interesting words.

Popular
Then: To have many people who like you, albeit not necessarily to you having an outstanding personality. If in high school, gives you the power to make other peoples’ lives miserable for your entertainment.
Now: To have many people read your writing, 140 characters at a time, albeit not necessarily to you having an outstanding personality. Transfers no other known benefits.

2 comments:

Katie Llanos-Small said...

Haha, nice.

Having just signed up to facebook myself it is taking a bit to understand that it is, apparently, okay to be friends with someone I haven't spoken to for years

how fast the world is changing!

Julie Starr said...

What I find interesting is how different people choose their Facebook friends.

So far I haven't friended anyone I haven't actually met. Some people I know friend anyone they come across online.