New technical terms are a source of great irritation to the casual reader. They are a way of creating an exclusive club of those ‘in the know’, what George Bernard Shaw called a ‘conspiracy against the public’. Nonetheless, new processes and ideas create the need for a new vocabulary to describe them.
Most online linguistic innovation originates in the USA – for obvious reasons. The USA is the epicentre of the web – by far the biggest and most influential producer and consumers of web content. As a result new words and phrases tend to draw on American cultural references. The three main sources are: politics, academia and sport.
Some of these terms – like blogosphere in the title of this post – are pretty self-explanatory. Others are mystifying. Do you know what a maven is? Or a meme? When something is inside the Beltway? Or inside baseball?
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