Which is worse – twitterheoa or blogstipation?

I wrote about the ‘Lazysphere‘ the other day without blinking an eyelid at yet another neologism. Probably because (a) I’ve become so used to tech jargon that I don’t even notice it anymore, and (b) because I think neologisms are, in moderation, a bit of harmless fun.

So in one way I agree with Alexia when she gives us techie (micro)bloggers a collective slap on the wrist –

"While many of the terms are used to describe well-known situations in short busts of effort, I find that more and more of the terms creeping in usage are simply cynical stakes in the ground. They are invented by mavens to be as a way to notch up tracking trends or movements happening just below the surface of connected communities and pull some eyeball time from readers."

Hugh MacLeod is one such blogger who immediately spring to mind in that regard. I love Hugh’s work but he’s a sucker for creating neologisms like "Armchair Militia" and "Techmeme Slaves". Alexia’s criticisms are squarely aimed there.  But on the other hand she goes way too far in condemning the usage of an age-old term like ‘subscribe’

"Many of these labels are also meant to separate techies from non-techies through a literary digital divide. For example, even using the word ’subscribe’ when describing that one reads another’s blog in an RSS reader is misleading. People don’t subscribe. RSS readers subscribe. We just read."

Ah now c’mon there Alexia. There’s co comparison between the actions of subscribing to a feed and reading one. Two totally different verbs. Just like there’s a difference between subscribing to a newsletter and reading one.

Personally I’ll make a fresh effort to Keep It Simple, as Alexia says, in my future tech writings. But I’m not joining her in the grammar police force. Titterheoa isn’t a good thing but neither is blogstipation.

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5 Responses to “Which is worse – twitterheoa or blogstipation?”

  1. Alexia Says:

    I don’t think I’ve gone too far there, James.. How many times have you heard people being introduced and one person spits out, ‘Ooo, I subscribe to your blog’. What they really mean is, I read your blog posts. Two different things, on that point I agree.
    The problem is that this word ‘subscribe’ is used interchangeably. That’s where my accusation of foggy language comes from.
    Techie people like the symmetry and complexity of saying ‘subscribe’ rather than describing the human act of reading.

  2. James Corbett Says:

    But in the techie area by it’s nature is one of innovation and creativity Alexia and new words/phrases are sometimes required to describe things which may seem little different to what went before. Like ‘blogging’ for instance. Surely that’s just ‘writing’ is it not? But of course most bloggers [sic] accept that it’s a particular kind of writing. And ‘microblogging’ is a newer one which I’ve seen more and more of. Should we dismiss it? Or accept that it’s required to describe a particular kind of blogging?

  3. Alexia Says:

    I didn’t bring the word ‘blogging’ into this, you did. I refer you to my reply on my blog as this comment thread seems to be a duplicate of it.

  4. James Corbett Says:

    That’s right Alexia, I did bring ‘blogging’ into this. I use it to demonstrate why there is a need for new words sometimes even when you could argue that older/traditional words could be used instead.

  5. Paul Walsh Says:

    I have subscribers but I have a lot more readers of my blog. That’s because most of my audience (I used that word purposely because most don’t commentate in the open) are not early adopters, geeks or techies.
    Subscribers to me, is a technical term to refer to those who ‘subscribed’ to the RSS feed. It doesn’t mean they ‘subscribe’ to my opinions.
    That said, I don’t think anyone refers to ‘subscribe’ as if to say people subscribe to your opinion. So, I don’t think this particular term is useful to the conversation because I agree that some people make up jargon in order to put *their* stake in the ground. In fact, it winds me up when it ends up confusing those who aren’t in the same circle.

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