My colleague David Hill is trying to put together an article that reflects on Facebook terminology that has become part of everyday discourse. This is a really creative idea. He is trying to build up a glossary of terms that he can use in his analysis, he’s put a call out asking for suggestions. The details of the call can be found on his schizomedia blog. The piece is for a special issue on the tenth anniversary of Facebook. This is the abstract for David’s article, it gives a bit more detail about what it is that he is planning to do (the blog post carries more information though):
In the ten years that Facebook has been online, users have developed a unique web cultural lexicon. “Facebook” itself has become a verb: to Facebook, to find a user’s Facebook profile. Once that is achieved we might speak of “friending”, the act of accumulating Facebook “friends” – the latter arguably a redefinition itself – and then “Facebook stalking”, whereby users’ information and images are unilaterally consumed. In this paper I provide a critical glossary of such terms – others include “frape” (using another’s account) and “vaguebooking” (obscure status updates usually designed to illicit concern) – in order to understand not only how they are utilised to construct a unique web culture but also to determine the extent of their use-value as conceptualisations for such web practices. It is the position of this paper that these neologisms have the power not only to shape web culture but also to tell us about normative stances of users towards certain kinds of communicative and web cultural practices. Further, once a glossary can be compiled, it is then possible to determine whether or not these terms can be usefully examined and operationalised by researchers into social media – whether or not they are simultaneously a form of web cultural patois and analytic conceptualisations of the web culture itself. This paper, then, uses the form of a critical glossary to explore theoretically the world-making of Facebook word-making.