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.

Curator
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.”

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

Thought-leader
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.

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

Ecosystem
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.

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

Cross-platform
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.

Tools
Then: hammers.
Now:  personal skills.

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

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

Guru
Then: smart Indian bloke.
Now: chancer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I could go on…