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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Stats on Magazine Launches Are Irrelevant & Misleading
Jul 2, 2015

My friend Samir Husni has penned a short essay and complaint about "numbers" used in our industry for purposes of...



Marketing Services Lab

The Marketing Services Lab
3 Ways To Tell The Content Marketing Boom Spells Revenue Growth for Publishers
Jun 30, 2015

Last week Publishing Executive announced the launch of the Publishing & Media Labthat we will host at the 2015 Content Marketing World conference this...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
Miniaturize & Simplify, Solutions to Publishers' Mobile Problem
Jun 15, 2015

As many publishers have found, providing a magazine experience on a mobile app and getting people to engage with it...



B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Content is Money
Jun 12, 2015

Most of the publishing world says Content is King. The publishers at SIPA say Content is Money. The annual conference...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
Apple Throws Publishers Another Curve Ball
Jun 9, 2015

The relationship between Apple and the magazine publishing industry has been acrimonious since the launch of the iPad in 2010...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
4 Takeaways from the New Apple App Analytics
May 26, 2015

One of the lesser-known facts about magazine apps is that publishers can glean very little information about them and how...



Disrupting 'Disruptive' and Other Impacts of the Word Wars

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Earlier this month we were hit with the annual lists of the most annoying words of 2012. Cliche-spotting has become a favorite year-end pastime on the coasts as media and tech-types decide (often after months of incessantly using them themselves) that certain buzzwords or turns of phrase are just so over.

And then there is the periodic controversy surrounding the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary. This time around, these words may include  "dumbphone," "'flexitarian" and "omnishambles."

I am inclined to give newly popular words and phrases the benefit of the doubt, assuming until strong evidence appears to the contrary that they do represent a new shade of meaning, and thus can enrich the language, and will get weeded out sooner or later if they fail in this—all of which means that the articles policing annoying or unnecessary words can themselves seem annoying or unnecessary.

But the worst part about all this word policing is that it sullies some very nice words and phrases before they even have a chance to trickle down. A few too many mentions in Wired or Ad Age and—wham!—a word we're all still getting used to is suddenly passé. My local restaurant reviewer may never have a chance to use a fine word like "twee," "meme" or "curate." Is it too late for that unusual Asian fusion dish at my local eatery to be "disruptive"? (Is "Asian fusion" even still a thing?)

Have trends replaced actual culture? Can anything stick around long enough to fully sink in, spread through the muskeg and take on new meanings, influences and iterations? Can words, like cuisines, no longer evolve without a hyphen? Can "bemused" ever be allowed to mean "slightly amused," as many seem to want it to, rather than confused?

But I digress.

Lets us media types try to remember that we can get sick of words or phrases others do not even know yet. Rather than fawn over, overuse and condemn them, let's try to give them some time to settle into the lexicon. To allow a nice word to flame out is to chip away at one of the greatest features of the English language—useful synonyms. 

Having said all that, I really do hate when people use "literally" to mean "truly." And don't get me started on the one about the Kimono.
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