Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

How words change

It’s always interesting to see how words and phrases progress as they get morphed by various uses. Amazon used to be a river, now it’s more likely people will think you’re referring to the website, for example. In the changing …

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 14:34


It’s always interesting to see how words and phrases progress as they get morphed by various uses. Amazon used to be a river, now it’s more likely people will think you’re referring to the website, for example. In the changing realms of work and technology, reinterpreting the meaning of words has becoming increasingly accelerated, in this current climate, going forward.

The other day I was thinking about how meaningless the word “meaningful” has become. People use it for almost everything now. Meaningful content. Meaningful communication. Meaningful brand analysis. Meaningful interaction. Here are a few more I’ve been thinking of:

Current climate
Then: the weather.
Now: our fucked economy.

Social entrepreneur 
Then: rich hippie.
Now: I don’t know what my job is, so here’s a vague description.

Then: socially awkward person who worked in a gallery.
Now: anyone who does anything ever. For example, “I am curating these crisps in the unique setting of my mouth.”

Then: Richard Dawkins describing cultural entities replicated.
Now: bad and brief in-jokes, generally involving cats, Ryan Gosling and/or Dublin street violence.

Then: clever philosopher person.
In between: hipster.
Now: someone marketing put forward as a person you need to listen to for some unknown reason.

Going forward
Then: moving away from a fixed point.
Now: a form of punctuation used by politicians meaning an unidentified idea happening at an undecided time at some unrevealed point in the future.

Then: TV channels.
Now: society, broken up into demographics for the benefit of targeted advertising.

Then: something from geography / David Attenborough programme.
Now: ascribing the sentiment that something is alive to a network.

Your brand
Then: your runners.
Now: you.

Then: something new.
Now: something pre-existing, saying it’s new / something ordinary pretending to be clever.

Then: you’re on the wrong DART.
Now: I haven’t detailed a proper way to implement this for one aspect of your business so I’ll just randomly say it’s for everything.

Then: hammers.
Now:  personal skills.

Data visualisation
Then: just imagine the sums in your head.
Now: fancy graph.

Then: your phone.
Now: any technology that moves. Including people.

Then: smart Indian bloke.
Now: chancer.

Then: two things working together to produce something better than they do separately. Also possibly a boyband/energy drink.
Now: Collaboration.

Then: someone being bold.
Now: something changing things.

Then: Someone bad / Sandra Bullock.
Now: Freedom of information-fighter.

Then: cling film.
Now: We might be lying, lol.

Sad face
Then: frown.
Now: I’m disappointed.

Then: possibly a flavoured coffee?
Now: someone messed with your Facebook profile. And it has rape in the word! lol.

Then: chatting to people at a party.
Now: anti-social.

Then: thought pattern.
Now: Um, a thing?

Then: turn on a basketball court that’s bad for your ankle.
Now: I fucked up! Here’s a new plan. lol.

Then: teaming up to work on something.
Now: emailing someone about an idea.

Then: put a ring on it.
Now: a customer tweets a company.

Then: restaurant reviewer / owner.
Now: someone who takes a photo of their dinner.

I could go on…

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email for the activation code.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 10 days from the date of publication.