When Words Go Bad

Every year the English language gets butchered (ahem, evolves) by our fascination in blending together two perfectly formed words to create a single word with a combined meaning of the two. What often results is a Frankenstein monster of a word, which infuriates and irritates, and ultimately ends up as part of our vocabulary.  So as festive lists start to proliferate the Interweb, my contribution is the top eight word mashups that make me squirm.  None of these were first referenced in 2012, but this is the year they made me want to scream!

Screenagers: This actually dates back to 1997 and Douglas Rushkoff’s book “Playing the Future,” where he refers to a teenager who spends a lot of time at a computer screen.

Momtrepreneur:  The past few years has seen an influx of mom-prefixed word mashups. Absolute credit to someone that balances starting a business while raising her toddler. But c’mon, these words aren’t even easy to say!

Mopper: Intended to refer to a shopper with a preference to shop with a mobile device, but sounds more like a term used to describe a stroppy teenager!

Phygital: 2012 was supposed to be the year where the physical and digital world collides for true customer engagement. Maybe it was, but let’s not label it with this naff word.

SoLoMo: So it’s not a portmanteau, but an acronym that describes marketing practices that take advantage of mobile phone apps, which combine location data with social networking. Probably the most overused word of 2012.

Anticipointment: After all the hype of a new startup, this is what happens when the reality doesn’t live up to the hype. Kinda like life in general!

Athleisuretics: A word that attempts to qualify certain electronic gaming activities as moderate intensity exercise! oh c’mon!

Phablet:  You guessed it. Part-phone part-tablet. Even has it’s own Wikipedia entry > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phablet

I’ve only scraped the surface of bad words so please feel free to suggest more…

Hello Twitter

MeWill we look back at the era of the filter with some regret? Moments with friends, Christmas parties or comedy street signs now come overexposed, highly saturated, with a sepia tint, burnt edges  or some other weird n’ wonderful enhancement. Isn’t the purity of the photo sacred, an opportunity to capture the moment as it was. Or did that night out really involve a psychedelic haze?!

Oh, in case you hadn’t heard Twitter has launched photo colour filters to battle Instagram, so let the filter era continue…

Don’t limit the value you can bring

Let’s write off 2012 as a year that User Experience Designers did as they were told. As we wrap up the season of goodwill and enter 2013, I urge everyone to make this the year we come armed with sharpies (and post-its), and run amok demanding answers to ”why are we doing what we are doing?” As representatives of our industry, we have a responsibility to ask probing questions of our company’s or clients business strategy. We want businesses to truly embrace our passion for designing amazing customer experiences, but this will only happen as we demonstrate how putting the customer at the heart of their business drives more business value and creates competitive advantage. If you see your role as simply designing a customer experience then you are limiting the value you can bring.  By understanding the business and why you are doing what you are doing, you can design customer experiences that drive business transformation.

Enjoy or Avoid!

As 2012 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on a year of promiscuity across social networks and blogging platforms. I’ve tangoed with Tumblr, flirted with Facebook, giggled with Google+ and so on. I’ve made noise in pretty much every social circle known to man & woman. After this social experimentation, I have reached a decision. I’m going to declutter and bring all my ramblings in to one space. I’m not quite giving up on the others. After just 3 days of Twitter celibacy I broke in to a cold sweat. But this new home will be where the majority of what I have to say will live. As our working and personal lives converge, I have become less inclined to separate my work and personal mutterings. I am both these people, and therefore my full colourful being doesn’t need to be separated out. Whether I’m nerding over bleeding-edge technology, making sense of the latest research, or getting over-excited about some badass glitchy electronica – this is where you’ll hear it. And ultimately, by bringing all my thoughts in to one place, it becomes easier for you to enjoy or avoid.

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