Sad Internet: “A place full of unwatched videos, unliked photographs, unheard music, tweets that no one cared about, and crowdfunding projects that nobody backed.” – Rob Walker.
In an article for Yahoo! Tech published last week, Rob Walker takes a mournful look at websites that fit neither of the Internet’s dominant tropes: Happy (“delightful and hilarious memes and GIFs and videos made by GoPro-wearing puppies”) and Angry (“nasty troll attacks, flame wars, and outrage galore”). “Some manifestations of the Sad Internet,” Walker writes, “make a mockery of the pervasive cliché of the magical technology that connects us all, builds community, and generally permits the ‘crowd’ to find and reward the wonderful.”
Among those manifestations (with my naming notes):
Forgotify:Walker writes that this site “plumbs Spotify’s unheard depths to present you with a random m selection from the zero-listen archives.” The -ify name, overplayed as it is, seems perfectly ironic here. And I appreciate the rhyme with Spotify.
No Likes Yet: “All the photos on Instagram with no likes yet.” I agree with Walker about the agreeable “note of optimism, or at least yearning” in that Yet. But the name suffers a little for not riffing more directly on Instagram. (Instagrump? Un-stagram? Disinstergram?)
Sad Tweets: “Connect the application to your Twitter account, and it presents you with a lowlights reel of your attempts at ‘sharing’ that attracted no likes, and no retweets.” Another brutally descriptive name, which probably is as it should be.
Kickended: What happens to Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns that don’t raise a single dime? Kickended happens. Walker: “It’s a useful, albeit bleak, reality check. Yes, the Internet makes magic and wondrous and unprecedented things occur. But only sometimes, and not for everyone.” The name falls short of its goal, too: Kicked to the Curb is more to the point.
Estivate: To spend the summer (in a special place, for example); to pass the summer in a dormant or torpid state (zoological usage). From Latin aestus, summer. Compare hibernate (to pass the winter in a dormant state).
The setting in this case is Williamstown, Mass., home to a venerable and usually star-studded summer theater festival. Anna (like Ms. Danner, as it happens) has estivated in Williamstown for many a decade.
Proofreading note: Please delete the comma after “time-consuming.”
Estify does a rambling and inept job of telling its story, but the TechCrunch story makes it clear that “Estify” comes from “estimate”:
There’s a rift between insurance companies and repair shops, explains Jordan Furniss, one of Estify’s co-founders. “[Insurers] write up a preliminary estimate for what a repair should cost and then repair shops have to duplicate that estimate into their systems.”
That means Estify joins the growing list of -ify names created from verbs: Chargify, Predictify, Chirpify, Connectify, et al.). As my colleague The Name Inspector (Christopher Johnson) has pointed out:
You don’t find -ify attached to verbs in natural English, because the point of the -ify ending is to make a verb out of a different kind of word. The only exception The Name Inspector has thought of is preachify, and he’s willing to wager that’s a tongue-in-cheek word, based on the similar word speechify, that’s meant to illustrate the kind artificially puffed-up speaking style it refers to.
And while we’re on the subject, The Name Inspector and I will be co-presenting a paper on naming trends at the American Name Society’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, in January. I’ll focus on names that end in -ly and Chris will tackle the -ifys. (I’ll also be giving a solo presentation on the nomenclature of legal cannabis, a topic I’ve touched on in this blog.) The ANS meeting is held concurrently with meetings of the American Linguistic Association and the American Dialect Society; an annual highlight is the word-of-the-year vote, which is open to the public. If you live in Portland or plan to be there between January 8 and 11, I’d love to meet up!
A mysterious blogger whom I know only as The Least Shrew—her Twitter bio identifies her as Kaylin in Akron, Ohio—has done me the great honor of turning a peculiar research project of mine into a flowchartthat she calls “How to Name Your Website.”
Of course, for strict accuracy, the label should be “How to Name Your Company or Product”—this is a lot bigger than websites. And until I told her about The Name Inspector’s Wall of Namifying—the project that inspired my own collections—The Least Shrew hadn’t been aware of it, so all those -ify names—Rockify, Subsify, Wingify, et al.—don’t get proper representation.
But those quibbles aside, it’s a brilliant infographic. I’m deeply flattered.
The most popular ad campaign in Japan—it’s been running for six years—features “the White family”: mother, daughter, father (a human in a dog’s body), son (a black American), and maid (an alien incarnation of Tommy Lee Jones). Quentin Tarantino and a Japanese astronaut have made cameo appearances. The ads are for SoftBank, a mobile provider; there are no subtitles, but the surrealism transcends the language barrier. Watch a bunch of the ads here.
I believe this design template is called Everything But the Unicorn.
The product’s name is Slushy Magic – the package contains “magic cubes” (filled with saline solution or gel, possibly) and a “Slushy Magic Cup” – but the stated benefit is slushification. Can you slushify your Zenify? Why, yes, you can!
Upon discovering this vast beauty located in a not-so-local WalGreens, my happiness meter jumped from “Oh gawd, I need tampons” to “HULLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SLUSHIES” (no I did not forget my lady things, I just happened to possibly mistakenly pick up cotton balls and twine). Of course, being the impatient person I am, I immediately ripped open that beautiful cyan blue box, with the happy children on the front, their precious cherub faces, gleaming at me with their cheery smiles as if to say, “Come to my slushy fountain, drink upon the abrosia [sic] of the Gods!”. In my exuberance, I did happen to endure the brutal, stabbing wound of a papercut, and some may or may not have gotten on the cup. It is alright, we all need more iron in our diets. Joyfully, I threw the saline-filled-whatevers into the freezer in wait for my delicious slushy shakin’ morning!
Bonus vocabulary fun: The OED says slush (“partially melted snow or ice; soft mud; food of a watery consistency; rubbishy discourse or literature”) is of “doubtful” origin. Slush fund (“a fund used to buy luxuries or to bribe”) originated in the 1830s in the U.S. Navy. The drink known as slushy goes by many other names, including Hawaiian ice, shave(d) ice, snow cone, and snowball. And that’s just in the U.S.; see this Wikipedia entry for slushy synonyms around the world.
I don’t get the appeal of My Little Pony even on a meta-meta-ironic level, but I am not you, and you, for all I know, may be a brony. In that case, knock yourself out with Ponify, a browser extension “which uses intelligent case-adaptive technologies to replace non-pony related words with ones that are pony-related” – hand into hoof, for example.
Then there’s Nüdifier, which is a twofer name: nominalized -ify suffix andgratuitous umlaut! The app lets you select an area of a photo for pixelated fake-nudity censorship.