Upgrade Your Lingo

Posted on 25/12/2011

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Upgrade Your Lingo


The Internet is changing the way we speak. As our environment changes, it creates its own language. However much the animal instinct in man refutes change, in time, adapt it must. Change is Constance! Are you savvy enough to plough through the landlines of the new baggage of words and phrases that are flooding the printed space these days? Twelve new words made the rounds in 2011. Let’s find out how you rate on them.

Tweet \tweet\ (noun) – 1 : a weak chirping sound, as of a young or small bird. 2 : Digital Technology. a very short message posted on the Twitter Web site: the message may include text, keywords, mentions of specific users, links to Web sites, and links to images or videos on a Web site. 
(verb – used without object) – 3 : to make a weak chirping sound. 4 : Digital Technology. to post a message on Twitter: “She tweets a lot about movies. “
(verb – used with object) – 5 : Digital Technology. to post (a message) on Twitter for (people) to read: “He tweeted his fans after the event.” Will you tweet this article to your followers?

#Hashtag – We all knew about the hash, (#), but what’s the difference between a simple hash and a hashtag? If you have been on Twitter, you may have seen a “hashtag.” To put it simply, a hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #LOST (or #Lost or #lost, because it’s not case-sensitive), you’ll get a list of tweets related to the TV series – which truly got lost somewhere through the episodes, by the way! Hashtags are believed to have originated on Twitter. Some  believe it actually began when the US Airways Airbus A320-214 plane, Flight 1549 luckily landed in the Hudson River in early 2009. Some Twitter user wrote a post then, and added #flight1549 to it. For something like this, where tweets would have been flying fast and furiously, it wouldn’t have taken long for this hashtag to go viral and suddenly thousands of people posting about it would have added it to their tweets as well. Then, if you wanted more information on the situation, you could do a search on “#flight1549” and see everything that people had written about it. Try this hashtag for example: #newyearresolution. I’m sure you would compel many others to share their New Year’s resolutions. And find out how many people break theirs before January 31st!

Planking – The Urban dictionary describes planking as “The art of laying horizontally across any object or the ground with their arms by their sides, aiming to occur in daring situations or a brotherly display of core-strength.” Or “An act of lying face down atop an object, landmark, animal or other person, then stiffening one’s form so that one’s arms are firmly held by one’s side and toes are pointed; taking on the physical characteristics of a plank.” Planking is usually recorded and uploaded to social networking sites to gain kudos for the level of comedy, aesthetic or endangerment accomplished in execution. It is said to have originated in Adelaide, South Australia. Somehow it never quite made its way down here, thankfully!

Smh – Acronym for ‘shake my head’ or ‘shaking my head.’ Usually used when someone finds something so stupid, no words can do it justice. Sometimes it’s modified to ‘smfh’ or ‘smmfh’ by those that prefer profanity in their acronyms. A  less known version that exists is “so much hate.” The second version is also acceptable when used in a sentence, although the person you are talking to may be confused and think you mean the first version, as expressed in the following dialogue: 

Friend 1: “He got in a fight with that man because he didnt like his face.”
Friend: 2: “smh” (both correct in this case!)

Lms – LMS,” or as it’s more frequently seen, “lms,” the Facebook acronym for “like my status,” is apparently the fastest growing acronym used on the site. It says quite a bit about how our culture is moving ever more quickly towards the regime of social media control – it doesn’t matter anymore how many friends you have, now what matters is how many friends you can get to publicly, well, like your status.

Arab Spring – On a political front, 2011 was the year of “Arab Spring,” a name for the enormous wave of demonstrations and protests in the Arab world that began in the very last weeks of 2010 and continues on today. The surge as it manifested itself was perhaps only possible in today’s age of technology and social media, which played a crucial role in organization, awareness and 
popularisation. One Egyptian man actually named his newborn daughter “Facebook!”

FOMO – For the uninitiated, FOMO means “fear of missing out,” specifically as relates to the feelings we get when trying to metabolize the millions of pieces of data we take in from the Internet every day. As The New York Times points out, somewhat ridiculously, when someone begins to feel inadequate because of what she sees her friends doing on Facebook, “her knee-jerk reaction is often to post an account of a cool thing she has done, or to upload a particularly fun picture from her weekend. This may make her feel better, but it can generate FOMO in another unsuspecting person.” Perhaps we should all just stop generating FOMO. Na by force to update ya status?

Hacktivist – A hacktivist is somebody who engages in hacktivism, which is the fusion of hacking and activism; a merger in which technically proficient hackers engage in electronic direct action in order to bring pressure on institutions engaged in unethical or criminal actions, particularly in relation to the Internet and computer technology.  One of the world’s more famous hacktivists is a chap who calls himself the ‘Jester.’ he claims to have been the dude behind the Wikileaks saga of 2010. He claimed to have a super tool that can pop websites out at whim. The next Steve Jobs?

Clicktivism – or charity generated activism enacted from the comfort of your home by clicking on something on the Internet, was also huge in 2011. The most retweeted tweet of the year raised 50,000 dollars for charity, according to Twitter.

Occupy – The Occupy movement was an international protest movement which was primarily directed against economic and social inequality. The first Occupy protest to receive wide coverage was Occupy Wall Street in New York City, which began on September 17, 2011. By October 9, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States. As of December 20 the Meetup page “Occupy Together” listed 2,751 Occupy communities worldwide. The newest member group? #OccupyLekkitollgate, Lagos December 17, 2011.

Subsidy – Here’s one word that came with a whole new “all- Nigerian” meaning. A simple dictionary would inform us that a subsidy is: ‘A grant paid by a government that benefits the public.’ In grammatical usage, an apt example would be: “The state recently granted a subsidy for research in artificial intelligence.” Funnily, the Nigerian people have never seen, nor ever enjoyed any benefits of subsidy, and the government has been hard put to try to defend and insist on an obviously artificial and unpopular policy direction. Governments defence? “Blame it on the cabal!” Do they mean that all their brains have been subsidised – by the cabal? Oh! By the way that’s not an exactly new word, ‘cabal,’ it ‘s been in usage around these parts for quite a few years – remember a certain First Lady called Turai? In coincidence, has anyone noticed that quite a few names on the purported  list of ‘oil cabal’ were also duplicated on the 2011 national awards list? These indeed, are strange times!
Boko Haram – everyone knows about Boko Haram. What we don’t know is where the whole phenom of it is taking us in 2012. The Christmas day bombing kind of sums up the senselessness  of it all. How dastardly does it get? Like someone once said, if the government tells you to go to work and Boko Haram tells you to stay at home, which would you obey?

God’s guidance in 2012 and beyond, jare!
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Posted in: Features