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Is 21st Century Communication Different?

Jun 22, 2008
When a Swarthmore College student turned a guided tour of the Web into a detailed journal of his life, blog communication was born. That was in 1994. By 2007 that one blog had grown into 106 million blogs. Seventy-six percent of them document personal experiences to share with others. The 15 most popular words used in communicating those experiences are blogger, blog, stupid, me, myself, my, oh, yeah, ok, post, stuff, lovely, update, nice and a four-letter word that begins with "s". Although that word isn't in my dictionary, Merriam-Webster proclaimed another four-letter word to be 2004's word of the year. That word was blog.

Then there's the Oxford English Dictionary. It contains 616,500 words and 10,000 to 20,000 of those words are in the average person's vocabulary. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those words are only in our recognition vocabulary - not in our everyday communication. However, new words are constantly becoming part of our language. The Miriam Webster Dictionary has more than 100 new words and phrases in its 2007 edition. For example, a soul patch means a small spot of beard under a man's lip and polyamory means having more than one openly romantic relationship at the same time. Because our language is constantly growing, dictionary publishers will never have the last word.

I love new words. My newest is kleptoparasitic. Kleptoparasitic is an adjective that was used to describe birds that chase other birds in order to take the fish those birds have caught. Sometimes the kleptoparasitic birds wrestle larger birds into the sea in order to steal their food. I know you might think my new word has limited use, but I'm planning to use kleptoparasitic to describe things besides birds - like politicians and the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has become concerned that communicating via cell phones could be dangerous to our health. Recently the administration contracted the National Association of Science to conduct a symposium on the possible negative effects of exposure to wireless devices and issue a report on the findings. I want to know where the FDA was 25 years ago when cell phones became commercially available. Because 1.1 billion cell phones were sold worldwide in 2007, I can't be the only one who's wondering what food and drugs have to do with cell phones. Maybe FDA doesn't stand for Food and Drug Administration. Maybe FDA stands for Find Disaster Anywhere.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
Take a minute to make yourself smile at
http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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