Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts January 2015

Well, That's #interesting

For the first time in the 25 years that it's been choosing a Word of the Year, the American Dialect Society has chosen a hashtag as its Word of the Year.

You'll remember that the 2012 WOTY was, actually, hashtag.

Now, the ADS has chosen for the 2014 WOTY an actual hashtag: #blacklivesmatter.

The vote, taken January 9 in Portland, Oregon, reflects the strength of the hashtag, which was used to protest the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other blacks at the hands of police. In the cases of Brown (Ferguson, Missouri) and Garner (Staten Island, NY), grand juries chose not to indict the officers involved. You can read the entire news release here.

In a more general sense, the choosing of a hashtag as the Word of the Year is yet another sign of the increasing influence of social media on language. It's also a tribute to the pithiness and succinctness that hashtags can inspire.

Even the 2013 WOTY, because, was chosen mainly for the new way in which it is being used, and that way is due, in part, to the prevalence of Tweeting and texting.

In the entries (here and here) immediately before this one, I offered my guesses for Word of the Year. My "real" guess was hack, a nod to the frequent data breaches of personal info stored online. I thought that because the Sony hack related to the movie The Interview was recent, it might get some consideration. But, no. Hack didn't even get a nomination.

Interestingly, my first and, admittedly, frivolous guess was closer to the mark. This past summer, a reporter at the TV station I work for interviewed a boy named Noah Ritter at the Wayne County Fair. He grabbed the microphone and, in the course of about one minute, used the word apparently several times as he riffed on the rides and the Powerball. The video went viral and Noah became known around the world as the #ApparentlyKid.

Apparently, I should have taken my guess one step further.

Oh well, there's always #WOTY2015.

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Wait! I Thought of a Word!

So, just when I thought I had no idea what the American Dialect Society might choose as the 2014 Word of the Year, I had an idea and thought of one.

Which isn't to say I'm going to be right.

But, here it is.

I think that the word "hack" may stand a chance of taking top honors.

The word has been all over the news lately, what with North Korea allegedly hacking Sony because of some movie in which Seth Rogen and James Franco are hired by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea, of course, denies the hacking. Then, there's the theory that the hack job was an inside job. However it happened, the emails revealed by the hack are fascinating.

But, the Sony hack was by no means the only one. Hardly a week went by that we didn't hear about hackers stealing data from some large corporation. Those companies like to call it a "data breach" (Maybe another contender for WOTY?) because, I don't know, it sounds nicer? Whatever you call it, millions of people had their personal information compromised by hackers.

So, apparently, to my way of thinking, "hack" is a strong contender for WOTY.

Bring on Friday.

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I'm Back! Word!

Hi! It's been a while, hasn't it? A good sign, though, is that I still remembered how to log in!

Well, if there's one thing that could bring me back to the blog after being away for so long it's the annual Word of the Year (that's WOTY, to you) announcement from the American Dialect Society.

The 2014 WOTY will be voted upon and selected Friday, January 9, when the members of the ADS gather in Portland, Oregon for their annual meeting.

Usually, I have (or at least feel like I have) some legitimate ideas about what the WOTY might be. But, last year, "because" came out of nowhere to win. Partly because of that, and partly because I was way too busy to worry about word usage, I feel like I have no idea what 2014's WOTY could be.

I think MY Word of the Year for 2014 is "apparently" because, apparently, one of the reporters I work with interviewed a kid who liked to say that word a lot.

Then, the video went viral, and now, apparently, the kid is a big star who hobnobs with the likes of Michael Strahan and Ellen.

You go, Noah!

In the meantime, I'll apparently have to wait a few days to see if the folks at the ADS agree with me.

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