As I was driving to work this morning listening to the usual barrage of the same songs that play over, and over, and over, and over (get the point?) again on the local radio, I was graced with a breath of fresh air. The radio host mentioned that Merriam Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary released a preview of the new words to be added to the 2012 annual update. She gave a teaser using the word “f-bomb” as her bait to lure the listener to the radio stations webpage. From there, you are directed to click a link that takes you to the Merriam-Webster Facebook Page where an official release of the words is provided. Now I’m going to avoid ranting about why this is a poor user experience (how many clicks does it take to get to the center of the content?) and focus my attention to the medium for which the original message was delivered: social media.
It is obvious to everyone, especially those who avidly follow this blog, that social media has a huge impact on our lives. So major, that the go-to dictionary in the United States decided to break the news to their Facebook community and the Associated Press in the same day. Ten years ago, this would have never happened. Even a year ago, the news may have been delivered in an entirely different manner. Now kudos to Merriam-Webster for using social media in an effective manner (61 “Likes” already) and creating interesting, engaging content for the reader. After all, this is what social media marketing is all about.
I went ahead and choose 3 words that are being added to the 2012 Merriam-Webster list which I feel are relevant to modern times and are connected to social media in some way. Those words are defined, thanks to Merriam-Webster, and explained further below:
1. Mashup- something created by combining elements from two or more sources c : Web service or application that integrates data and functionalities from various online sources. I do believe the internet as a whole could be considered one big mashup due to the sharing of cookies, etc. across multiple platforms. The majority of websites that have commenting or login features piggyback off the Facebook and/or Twitter functionality to enhance the user experience. Rather than creating a million profiles with different passwords, usernames, and security questions, you are able to log yourself into third party websites and take that experience home to your social community easily.
2. e-Reader- a handheld electronic device designed to be used for reading e-books and similar material. e-Readers have come a long way in functionality and the aestehtic nature in which they display content. One of the more recent developments is the integration with social media services, particularly Facebook and Twitter, that allow you to share quotes and passages from various materials with your social community.
3. Geocaching- a game in which players are given the geographical coordinates of a cache of items which they search for with a GPS device. I prefer the definition from Geocaching.com which is describes geocaching as “a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online.” Much more enticing isn’t it? Obviously, with something of this nature it is easy to see how social media can be intertwined. Players are able to post hints, photos, and much more to their social profiles. Also, the company provides details of new adventures via their Twitter account so new missions are always within grasp.
So social media is taking over the world like Pinky and the Brain. Well not really. However it is becoming more deeply ingrained in our everyday lives as an incubator for content and a way to deliver a message to a specific targeted audience. The purpose of this post isn’t to talk specifically about social media, but rather highlight the impact it is having in the modern world. The three words that I highlighted above are perfect examples. Sure they would exist without social media, but would they be as powerful in delivering their message or enhancing the value added to our lives? Probably not.
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