How technology inspires new vocabulary

Technology buzzwords

Technology is constantly moving forward and speeding off into the future while many other parts of life seem to be left behind. Yet our vernacular (no matter what language you speak) has learnt how to keep up with this evolving technology and all of the developments that come along with it. There appears to be an organic process that creates new words to describe new things that were not there before. Let’s take a look at some of the latest words that have joined our technological vocabulary.

Phablet

The word “phablet” is an amalgamation of the words “phone” and “tablet”. This is the latest trend in mobile devices and the best examples can be seen in the new releases of the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Huawei Ascend Mate. These phablets are big enough to touch on tablet territory but small enough to barely fit in your hand much like a modern smartphone. Many companies are jumping on the phablet bandwagon because of the need for bigger screens but the convenience of a phone. Bigger screens mean better and easier navigation, especially with the latest multimedia being released and the rise of ebooks.

Second screen

Most of us are already using second screens even if we may not be aware of what it is called. Take the Oscars for example. The Oscars are broadcast live on television millions of Americans. But with second screen mentality on the rise, the Oscars have evolved beyond merely the television to include live tweets from the ceremony as well as streaming the event online for those outside of the United States. This buzzword is also sometimes referred to as the “companion device” or “companion apps”. These companion apps or devices allow you to interact with content while watching it on television at the same time.

Skeuomorphic

A buzzword that sounds more complicated than it really is. It is best explained as the action of designing one object to look like or resemble another material or technique. Think about the shutter sound many mobile devices have in their camera apps. These are made to resemble the sound that real cameras make when taking a photograph. Or look at the many note-taking apps available now. Many of them help you create notes that look like physical notepads complete with torn edges, lined paper, leather borders and rings.

Showrooming

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular with the rise of features and site that are easy-to-use for any person, no matter how challenging they find technology in general. Showrooming is the action of going into a real-life brick and mortar retail store to look for a product without buying it and then going home to look for lower prices or better deals in online stores.

The sharing economy or collaborative consumption

Even with all of the progressions we are witnessing in today’s age, there are some things from days gone by that always manage to find a way back into our everyday consciousness. Trading seems to be one of those things that is worming its way back in. In the olden days, people had no currency with which to acquire what they needed. So, the best way to get a sack of grain was to trade your neighbour for it with some milk from the cow in your backyard.

The share economy is the existence of places where people trade each other things they have for things they want or need from the other person. Many sites have popped up with AirBNB being the poster child of this. AirBNB provides a service for users from around the world to advertise their non-hotel accommodation (meaning their house or granny flat) to travellers to use. Other sites who think sharing is caring is SnapGoods (http://www.snapgoods.com), Whipcar (http://www.whipcar.com), Love Home Swap (http://www.loveswaphome.com) and lots more. There is even a site that lets people share in real-life experiences like board games tournaments, a class in how to make macaroons or bracelets and learning how to slackline.

SoLoMo

It looks like just another abbreviation from the dreaded textspeak or SMS language. But don’t let it fool you. In fact it stands for Social-Local-Mobile. Basically it refers to the convergence of social and local media (or location) as well as mobile. Many types of media nowadays makes use of GPS and location services to pinpoint where a particular user is from and then customizes search results and the like to suit the user’s particular situation. You might have experienced this when you search a particular word and Google returns results that relate specifically to your area without you even specifying it in your search.

Each of the different platforms have qualities that complement each other. Social media has, in the last few years, developed ways in which their users can stay connected while in other areas of the Internet. An example of this is Facebook’s Open Graph where users carry their social identity with them across the Internet and log in at different locations. With the mobile platform, the app stores opened by various companies have launched a time where users are online and connected almost all of the time. Smartphone users take their everyday activities online and on-the-go, giving businesses the opportunity to personalize offers based on location, behaviours, activities and device usage.