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Announcing the 1 Millionth English Word

06/18/2009

Yes it’s fun. Web 2.0 is, fittingly, the 1 millionth word in the English language.

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Alright, alright. Web 2.0 as the crowd defines it, describes Web technologies that allow for seamless and global social interactions.

Is the word’s “graduation” significant?

Like New Year’s — yes and no. For writers and marketing colleagues, it does matter. Tremendously. First to reaffirm the vital relationship of word selection, community, and authenticity. Second to brainstorm the new world created by Web 2.0. Perhaps, the very word “marketer” may become outdated in describing our services to clients and their customers.

It makes good sense to stop a minute and see how language comes about, increases and then diminishes in value based on culture. Tweeting, reports Global Language Monitor, is nothing new. In fact, chatterboxes have been “tweeting” (i.e., talking excessively), since the Middle Ages (hopefully not in the monasteries!).

Playing tag with Web 2.0

Seriously, though, as writers and communicators, it’s important to step back and review language as an investment. If we’re going to engage communities, then it’s important to speak their language. A quick fix of customer focus (replacing “I” with “you”) won’t cut it. Loading up on keywords will no longer do the trick. Everywhere, I’m reading that search is over.

Web 2.0 engagement means empowerment. So we’ve got to empower each bit of writing with meaning and authenticity, offer it up to the community as an experience to share or helpful information that will enrich someone’s life or provide fodder for creating something new with one person, exponentially.

From Wikimedia.org

From Wikimedia.org

As this Wikimedia tag map clearly shows, Web 2.0 will happen, one tag at a time, one technology at a time.

Think, then, about the scope of  Web 2.0 living. Perhaps, make up some of your own cloud clusters. You could, for example:

  1. Map how Web 2.0 changes your company — its process, people, and/or mission.
  2. List some new relationships or communities made possible only through your favorite social networking application.
  3. Consider 10 things (businesses, activities, words) that will diminish in value as Web 2.0 continues its volcanic rise.

Let’s make sure that each word is right for the time and environment. If Web 2.0 is here, then Web 2.1 can’t be far behind.

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