Friday, March 18, 2011

Web 2.0 terminology – do I “like” it?

I know it’s a boring title. I love writing and thinking of funny, interesting stuff that I know I would love to read 5 years later. For some reason every time I write a post title it sounds like MIT paper cover, but much less interesting.

That’s because I take every word I write very seriously. I am not pretending to be a serious guy or a great writer for that matter but when it comes to words I never take it lightly.

Words are everything basically. All the communication accessories we have developed until now are all meant to deliver words from place to place.

Even as a kid I strived to learn by heart all the lyrics of every song I like, repeat movie monologs over and over again until I got them perfect (I’ll tell you what “like a virgin” really means…) and basically just try to give words the treatment they deserve.

It got to the point I can’t read the paper anymore because I feel it makes my IQ drop. The words they use in headlines to deliver the news are just ridicules. Something like “Markets tsunami!!!” when the S&P 500 drops 0.5% or “Global meltdown” on every hot summer day. They use very strong words to describe everyday news so we always feel in a constant state of war or crisis. Everything just to keep us afraid and panicking enough so we have to buy the paper tomorrow. The news agencies tend to treat us like idiots. And they do it with the help of words. It is words that inspire people to fight, run, hide, buy, sell, come, leave, hate or love. And when the right words are used in the right way it can make extraordinary things happen.

So yeah, I love words. I love to think of where a word came from, making up new slang words, use them to motivate or be motivated by them.

For many years we, as readers, could express our feelings about content in many ways. We could read an article or a book and we could hate it or like it. We share our opinion with people over dinner or comment about it on the website. At the beginning, the internet didn’t change our ability to express an opinion. It only allowed us to better customize and increase our content consumption while we could still express very clearly if we like a piano playing cat or not.

When social networks were introduced and gained popularity it changed completely the way we find new content or explore the web. It kind of cut back on our options to find new stuff but now we get most of the content from friends, from people we know or we can customize it according to our interests. I won’t get into the whole “there is no more original stuff and all content is just recycled from one to another” argument (it’s a discussion for another post) but as our “playground” got boarders, so our ability to express emotions has shrunk and it changed our terminology accordingly.

The whole purpose of this blog is so I can share content and ideas I like. I love the times we live in that enables us to communicate everything. After a long time of consuming large amount of information on a regular basis I developed a kind of sensitivity for it and all the more so to what I share or pass along. 

Until recently, when one wanted to pass along to his Facebook friends an article or a movie or a post on the web, he could either “like” it or “share” it.  I realize these two makes for different functions but the split was basically I “like” a photoshoot of behind the scenes at the Victoria Secret show and I “share” news about an earthquake. I mean, how can I “like” anything about an earthquake?

Recently Facebook merged the “share” button into the “like” button. So now I face a problem. If I read an article about the tsunami at Japan and I feel I want to share it to my friends then I am actually forced to “like” it or “digg” it. I definitely don’t like or dig anything about it. I love Japan and its people and I feel like sharing it. No likey.

Another point is the whole “viral” stuff. How come viral became the best thing ever? Everybody wants to “go viral” and there are viral experts that I doubt ever went to medical school. As a child of the 90’s I know viral is bad. Very bad.

So where will it end? In a few years my kid will only like or ignore things. He would tweet me on what he digg and he and his friends would try to go viral till they die.

So pay attention to the words you are using. There is a reason there are so many of them.

Hope you liked it and even if you didn’t, you can share it.

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