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December 1997


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Steve Cavrak <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
ACS staff discussion list <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 13:30:07 -0500
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[ WOTY = Word of the Year ]

Date:         Wed, 31 Dec 1997 11:38:58 +0200
        Sender: American Dialect Society <[log in to unmask]>
        From: John Hopkins <[log in to unmask]>
        Subject:      'InterNOT' as a 1997 WOTY nomination ...
        To: [log in to unmask]

Dear All,

Perhaps particularly in followup to Gareth's WOTY
suggestions, I would like to nominate 'Internot'
(sometimes seen with the NOT part highlighted) as a WOTY
for 1997.

It seems to me that during 1997, particularly in
academia but also in the business world, the line was
crossed between usage of the internet being perceived as
a new or leading-edge technology (bearing in mind how
slowly things change among the academic mainstream, as
opposed to ADS-L subscribers) to both familiarity and
active usage of the internet being 'expected' if not
'assumed' as a basic qualification for those working in
higher education -- and also in business marketing -- to
the point where those NOT on the internet are viewed as
dysfunctional with respect to internal university
communications, teaching and scholarly development and a
host of other considerations.

In short I feel there was a very rapid and remarkable
shift of status to internet proficiency now being a
basic, mainstream literacy qualification, with those who
are NOT such now viewed quite pejoratively.

Related to this has been the shift in meaning of words
like 'geek' from almost-exclusively pejorative to
contexts approaching admiration for one's proficiency
with technology (seen in turn as a current/future key to
upward mobility and success).

'Internot' has been used in computer publications such
as InfoWorld and PC Magazine (plus BYTE, etc) for at
least two years, but increasingly this year has been
used in mainstream newspapers and magazines.



John D. Hopkins <[log in to unmask]>              <>
University of Tampere, Finland   Phone +358-3-2156116, FAX +358-3-2157200