What the 404? #Fail

What the 404? #Fail

Did you feel a little lost and out-of-favour in 2013? The Global Language Monitor’s 14th Annual Survey of Global English documented that 404 was the number one word used in 2013 and the second most used word was Fail.

Here are their top five words:

  1. 404  –  The near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet.word2
  2. Fail — The single word fail, often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor.
  3. Hashtag  – The ‘number sign” and ‘pound sign’ reborn as the all-powerful Twitter hashtag.
  4. @Pontifex — The Hashage of the ever-more popular Pope Franciscus (Francis).
  5. The Optic — The ‘optic’ is threatening to overtake ‘the narrative’ as the Narrative overtook rational discourse. Does not bode well for an informed political discussion.

When I see those five words, with the exception of the Pope, I think what a negative space we’re in –#NegativeNellies. Well, okay, the word Hashtag is not negative in and of itself; it just speaks to our obsession with so-called “social” media.

I don’t know about you, but in real life I’ve never seen anyone at a meeting stand up, point to a person who can’t seem to find a document or remember the exact budget amount, and yell “Ha! 404!” or seen someone yelling “Fail” when they see a person stumble in the street. Can you imagine? #That’sJustMean

The only glimmer of light in that top Five is @Pontifex for the new Pope. It’s not that I have a thing for the Pope or anything, or for any religious figure, it’s just that they usually stand for the good that people want to try to be. Bet old Pope Francis isn’t walking around the Vatican spewing out #Fail and #404 to his underlings. He might drop the odd #JesusMary&Joseph but that’s to be expected from the Catholics. (It’s okay, I can say that because I grew up Catholic and my mom was very devout and she said that a lot, usually followed by chest clutching and the sign of the cross.)

Number five on the list, “The Optic”, makes me think of everything from politics, to evil corporations and government to social media. It’s all about how something appears, not how it really is. How many people’s Facebook pages, twitter and foursquare accounts are about appearing to be living large? What about online dating profiles? If ever there were an opportunity to pander to optics, that’s the place. (I’ll have to do a separate post about online dating – too much fun stuff to squeeze in here.)

Let’s hope the most used words for 2014 are little more inspiring, more Popey and less Hashtaggy. My goal for the new year is to surround myself with words that inspire me, like #fun, #NakedFireFighters and #Chocolate…oh, wait, I think those were the main plot points in a recent Harlequin Romance. I guess I’ll have to work on those words for 2014. What about you? Got your words all lined up?

Photo by: Procsilas Moscas


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