New Words

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The New York Times has a fun little piece on new words we need to add:

Screensucking, which he defines as “wasting time engaging with any screen — for instance, computer, video game, television, BlackBerry.” He goes on to use his new word in a sentence: “I was supposed to write that article, but instead I spent the whole afternoon screensucking.” That concept hits particularly close to home.

EMV, or E-Mail Voice. This, Dr. Hallowell writes, is “the unearthly tone a person’s voice takes on when he is reading e-mail while talking to you on the telephone.” Researchers at M.I.T., he tells us, have developed a program that can electronically measure how engaged people are in a conversation, giving scientific certainty to your suspicion that you are not being listened to.

Frazzing. Defined as “multitasking ineffectively.” The term multitasking itself was originally coined to describe what a computer does during the microseconds between keystrokes. Then it came to mean something humans are proud to do. And when we crash (also a computer term) while trying to multitask, we frazz.

Gemmelsmerch. “The force that distracts the mind or steals it away from what it wants to do or ought to be doing.” For example, “Accidents along the highway are high in gemmelsmerch, compelling drivers to slow down and gawk. A jackhammer outside your window is high in gemmelsmerch. Getting news that you will be audited by the I.R.S. is high in gemmelsmerch. … As if covered in a radioactive cloud of the stuff, the world has never been as high in gemmelsmerch as it is today.”

Spammified: to end up in your spam folder by mistake. This is becoming the new “check is in the mail” excuse for why we don’t answer e-mail messages. “I am so sorry, but I only just got your message. It had been spammified.”

Cellopain: the jerk who talks loudly and obliviously on his cellphone in a crowd. There are other words for this person, but they are not printable.

Regurgimailer: people who forward to everyone they know everything that lands in their in-boxes. Warnings about techniques that rapists use in parking lots; photos of adorable missing children; heart-warming lists of why women and their friendships are so wonderful; jokes about, well, everything. The fact that most of the items either have been traveling the Internet for years or turn out not to be true, or both, does not stop them. A word to regurgimailers — check Snopes.com before you forward, please.

Reverberon: the kind of e-mail described above, which has been forwarded endlessly and everywhere.

Telamnesia: a condition that restricts you to talking only to people who are on your speed-dial list because you no longer keep phone numbers in your head. For me, this includes my own home, which I misdialed the other day.

Logonorrhea: a related condition that renders you unable to use certain online accounts because you can remember neither your screen name nor your password.

Bluetooth fairy: a person who walks around with the blinking glow of a Bluetooth headset permanently in one ear. I stand guilty as charged.

That’s enough screensucking for today. I’m frazzed and it’s time to go home before I get spammified.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.

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