Expanding Language = The Identity of Words ~ Amebic / Shape Shifting

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Expanding Language = The Identity of Words ~ Amebic / Shape Shifting


Wednesday 4D

Convener: Jeff Orgel

Notes-taker(s): Jeff Orgel


Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:


As people interact with technology and systems on the digital landscape we use language of various sorts. Symbols, gestures and most of all, words all play a part. Just as technology and systems change, so too, do many the related elements of communication. Icons, touchpoints, the interface itself shift and evolve over time.


Whereas much of the above occurs due to system and engineering design changes, words change in a space “off band” of these design shifts. Culture operates on its own. A word can take on a completely new meaning, sometimes overnight. “Sick” doesn’t always mean ill. “Pink” is not always a color. “Free” is a term related to a value exchange which most people are often not clear about. While we usually perceive free as meaning at no cost, related to no dollars and cents, digitally it often means the values exchange is more valuable, persistent “payment” in a currency that may never stop following you around…ever.


Unless you take the time to read the terms and conditions, how will you know the currency being exchanged? When my Father searched for replacement parts for a tool, how would he have known that “wet” and “grinder” are sexually freighted terms in the digital game space of search? How would people know that their tween/teenager is walking around with a very sexualized term printed boldly on their clothing…because “pink” is not always a color…


In order to best help the Human OS operate in the scope and bounds of the individual’s intention, this Real-IT ® awareness skillset keeps people between the lines on their digital journeys. As a tool in that skillset, the best tool I am aware of at this time is www.urbandictionary.com . The challenge of knowing what means what when is often formidable.


As we ourselves are defined and identified as this or that in the digital landscape based on our actions and choices, understanding the amebic and shapeshifting nature of language, is a baseline for sturdiness and maintenance of intention.