Sunday, January 18, 2009

Superizory role

Another one I've apparently missed. This is from an article about using Plurk:
On to some extras to uberfy your plurking!

So ... uber is the new super. (I actually blogged about this several hundred years ago.) Therefore, to uberfy is to make super-duper, yes? One might say that it's akin to pimping: On to some extras to pimp your plurking!

I do like it, tho as a former student of the Germanics, I still have a hard time letting go of Mr. Herr Umlaut. (And for that matter, front rounded vowels.)

Incidentally, the article from which this comes includes a link to Plurk that is labeled as obviated for invites. I understand about invitations/invites to join certain Web-based communities, but I can't say that I can figure out exactly what the author means by obviated in this context. (Obviously, I'm not going to be getting any invites to Plurk anytime soon.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Social studies

I heard a usage today, twice, that sent me scurrying to the dictionary. (Well, to Google, but that led to the dictionary.) Considering that I work in high-tech, you'd think I'd be au courant with late-breaking linguistic developments. Perhaps I don't go to enough meetings.

Anyway, the term in question is socialize. Obviously, we all know it in the context of chatting at cocktail parties and the like. And after peeking at the dictionary I allow as how you can transitively socialize, say, a feral dog. (You can do so grammatically, if not always in reality.)

Yon dictionary also uncovered a couple of transitive usages that I am not very familiar with:

2 a: to constitute on a socialistic basis <socialize industry> b: to adapt to social needs or uses

: to organize group participation in <socialize a recitation>

Can't say that I've ever consciously heard either of these usages.

But the usage I heard today was subtly different yet. At a meeting today, we were discussing a particular technique that we'd like people to use, and the boss said We need to socialize that.

A few editorial eyebrows twitched at that. I attributed it to a slip of the tongue and that what was meant was We need to evangelize that, which is a pretty common thing in our corporate lingo. Sell it. Talk it up.

But then later today, by golly, I attended a panel discussion about blogging, and one of the participants said this: I socialized the term "blog smart."

Hearing the second instance within mere hours made it clear that I just had totally missed this one. So, a bit of Web-based research revealed that the phrase socialize the idea (as but one possible phrase for this usage) has a couple thousand hits.

Web searching also turned up a couple of attempted definitions. This one is from Terrence Seamon:

The concept of "socializing" refers to the interpersonal communication process of building support for an idea or course of action by visiting with key stakeholders one at a time.

From the page 7 Buzzwords Every Content Provider Should Know*:

[T]his word means "to spread an idea with the hope that familiarity will gain it acceptance or build a consensus." Sentence: "After I write an article I like, I socialize the idea with social bookmarks."

In this blog post, they're simply taking it as a synonym for "familiarize," but in the comments people suggest slightly different definitions, for example:

[S]ocializing to me often means convincing a group – frequently by leading the members of that group to believe they helped to develop the idea.


Familiarization is a passive activity (I expect the team to learn it) whereas socialization is an active activity (I am responsible to teach it). It is in that teaching that the idea may undergo some changes and or modifications that may aid in its adoption or rejection.

It's mildly interesting to encounter a new (to me) word like this, but somewhat more interesting to discover that although the core idea is something like "sell personally," the exact definition is a little elusive. Of course, this is hardly the only example.

* I think they're not counting the buzzword content provider in the title.