The advent of the Internet, followed by its multitude of uses, culminating – for now – in the vast impact of Social Media – brought with it a whole new vocabulary. Call in vernacular, lingo, or buzzwords. It doesn’t matter. Just as politics often hijacks certain words so they never again carry their original meaning, so has Social Media. Popular culture does the same thing. In my parent’s day, “gay” meant having a good time. Fred Astaire starred in The Gay Divorcée, which was anything but a movie about sexuality.
Now we have a large list of words and phrases that have either been invented or the meaning has been co-opted and will forever bear the stain of its present use in Social Media. I felt as a parent it was my duty and obligation to provide other parents and those interested in the REAL definitions. Please note that I have an MBA and got a 473 on the Vocab portion of the SAT.
Authenticity: A city in Greece.
Best Practices: With the advent of ObamaCare and other medical advances, medicine has changed. Best Practices refers to those surviving medical practices that actually return your phone calls.
Blog: When your e-mail is not working, it’s blogged up.
Bookmark: The place where you spilled your coffee in a book. A book is something from the Middle Ages.
Chat: This is when you are speaking with someone, pretending to listen, and thinking about what you’re going to say in your next Tweet.
Clouds: The name of a Joni Mitchell song. It may have had an earlier meaning in environmental circles.
Commitment: Every bachelor’s nightmare.
Community: The new name for Hillary’s “Village.”
Content Is King: Content became King when writing, spelling, and grammar no longer mattered.
Engagement: Every bachelor’s other nightmare.
Friend Me: A new “pick up” line used at bars.
Hashtag: When you find something unwanted in your Hash Browns.
Influence: A new herbal remedy for the flu. Also referred to by its trademark name, InfluEssence.
Keywords: Also referred to as “Boilerplate,” these are the words in small print in a divorce agreement in which lawyers actually reneg on all that was agreed upon on the assumption you won’t read them.
Like: I used to love this word. I used it when I was afraid to use “love.” Now, we can “like” everyone and every thing we read. I think the word has NO meaning, anymore!
Links: Any private golf course where you get Wi-Fi.
Lurker: Any one that shows up at your kid’s Bar Mitzvah with their kids when only THEY were invited!
Metrics: A new diet that uses metric measurements.
Monetization: The dream that happens when you quit your REAL job and hope to actually make money blogging.
Network(s): Way back before the Internet, people would watch television on old B&W television sets with rabbit ears. There were just three networks “back in the day” – CBS, ABC, and NBC. Now they all do sports and reality TV so we all just subscribe to Netflix.
Permalink: This is an expression for when your pen links through one of those shirt penholders. Mostly used in “Nerd” circles. I believe Bill Gates coined it.
Platform: Yep, they’re back. You just thought the seventies were over. Platform heels are back with a vengeance!
Podcast: A green vegetable.
Profile: This is a tool that manicurists use. Beware: Use at your own risk!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): This is the warning light that comes on your Prius when the car needs service.
Tag: This word hasn’t changed a bit from my childhood. No, tag is not the thing that goes on luggage or a technical term for a reference item for something on the Internet, it’s simply what happens when you touch some one in a game of “Tag.” You know, like “Tag, you’re it?”
Threads: Being a child of the sixties, I just assume this word has retained its meaning as the clothes one is wearing.
Tool: The evolution of this word is awesome. It began as an instrument used for making or building something, evolved into a very well-respected Rock Band, became something one uses on the Internet, and is now widely regarded as a derogatory description of someone. Seems logical.
Transparency: Direct from D.C., this is what every politician avoids.
Tweeple: People with lisps.
Twittosphere: The tentative title for “Star Trek IIXXVC.”
Viral: This is when something one posts online carries a virus and gets everyone sick.
Vlog: When you really insult someone, that is vlogging them.
While knowing the actual meanings of these terms is not all that important, I fervently believe that parents MUST be on top of Social Media so they’re “on top” of what their kids are doing. Get help if you find this difficult. But, knowing who they’re Social Media friends are and the Internet “places” they visit is NO DIFFERENT than knowing where you kids are going and who they are hanging out with.