Mobile's influence impacts lingual advances
By Kari Jensen
January 2, 2014
Mobile is rapidly changing the ways that consumers communicate with each other and the words that they select to convey meaning.
At the start of 2014, selfie, phablet and emoji are recognizable words to many, yet a year ago these words and others were not in common use. Mobile is affecting our words and actions at a pace unlike any other device in history, including the automobile, telephone and radio.
"Mobile is moving so quickly, it feels like there are new terms every day," said Karen Pattani-Hason, director of new business and partnerships at Aurnhammer, New York. "It incentivizes me to know as much as I can about mobile, which is a challenge as there are many aspects to the business and it's always evolving.
"Whether it's mobile advertising, iOS and Android coding specs, mobile marketing trends, or the latest ad tech innovations, it's a lot to keep track of," she said.
Oxford Dictionaries Online adds about 1,000 new words annually to its database. This year, mobile technology influenced some of its choices.
Oxford added some portmanteau words — or blends of words — such as phablet and freemium.
A phablet is a smartphone with an intermediate size screen, smaller than, but similar to a tablet.
A freemium — free plus premium — refers to a free service or game, which has features that can be added for a fee.
In 2013, abbreviations and acronyms were also popular additions to Oxford Dictionaries Online, including BYOD, TL;DR and digital detox.
BYOD means bring your own device, as in carry and use your smartphone at work.
TL;DR stands for too long didn't read, which can either be a dismissive response to a lengthy online post or an introduction to one, according to Oxford.
Digital detox occurs when people refrain from using their smartphones and other electronic devices. They literally "detoxify."
"A recent acronym I've grown to appreciate is ASO, or App Store Optimization," Ms. Pattani-Hason said. "This describes the techniques used to optimize mobile applications in order to rank higher in-app store search results.
"It's not enough to build a great app - ASO is necessary to drive more traffic to the app's page in the app store, which drives discovery and downloads," she said. "It's like SEO for apps."
Mobile's ubiquity has also given some words and phrases greater importance, including selfie.
A phablet - Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Oxford Dictionaries Online named selfie its word of the year for 2013. A selfie is a self photograph, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and then uploaded to a social media Web site.
President Obama earned notoriety recently at the late Nelson Mandela's funeral when he was caught by the media posing for a selfie. Some media critics referred to his behavior as being a selfie faux pas.
Bitcoin, click and collect, emoji and supercut were more widely known at the end of 2013, as opposed to its beginning.
Bitcoin is a digital currency, which can be used in lieu of a central bank.
Click and collect refers to the actions shoppers take when they order online from a store's Web site and pick up their items at the bricks-and-mortar location.
An emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online.
Supercut is a compilation of a large number of short video clips, typically showing examples of a repeated or clichéd action or phrase in films or broadcasts, according to Oxford.
Eventually, over time some terms change meaning and context. For example, at one time Xerox, a copy machine manufacturer, became the term used to make copies: "Xerox it."
Google is now used as a verb. Consumers "Google" someone, yet they do not "Bing" someone.
Knicket, a new Web site that streamlines Android, iOS, and Windows Phone app searches, hopes someday people will "Knicket" apps.
Mobile Eve — as opposed to Christmas Eve — may grow in usage and popularity, just as Cyber Monday extended into Cyber Weekend.
Becoming familiar with the new words is not just a New Year's Resolution, it is a business strategy for mobile.
In 2013, the two words that stand out for Walt Geer, vice president of product strategy of mobile and desktop at PointRoll, King of Prussia, PA — native and multiscreen — are commonly known.
"But [only] a few companies are taking advantage of this by building tools that enable advertisers to build content on the fly," Mr. Geer said. "It's important to keep your ear to the ground and pick up on as many things as possible.
"Brands need to understand technology as much as they need to know the next hip thing that kids and other consumers are doing," he said. "How can a brand apply the concept of 'selfies' to their own message?
"Buzzwords help, but they don't get you across the finish line."
Kari Jensen is staff writer at Mobile Marketer, New York
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Comments on "Mobile's influence impacts lingual advances"
Lane Hansen says:
January 8, 2014 at 1:53pm