Once again, as in days of yore, I turn to this peerless portmanteau to evoke the spirit of the season: eager anticipation followed by crushing disappointment. This winter it’s not just about boring parties and less-than-satisfying gifts but also about dashed pandemic hopes. (Vaccines—yay! Omicron—oy vey!)
I originally wrote about anticipointment in December 2006. I revisited the word in December 2011, and included a link to an article published on June 6, 1988: the earliest documented citation for the word. I’m still searching for an earlier citation. (I had once heard that the word was invented by an ad agency in the 1960s and used on that agency’s holiday cards.)
I now have two updates:
Mike Jandreau, aka WickedOffKiltah, published this graphic definition of anticipointment on Deviant Art on January 17, 2013.
And I was delighted to discover that anticipointment has made it into the academic literature. In 2020, three Dutch professors—Florian Kunneman, Margot van Mulken, and Antal van den Bosch—published “Anticipointment Detection in Event Tweets” in the International Journal on Artificial Intelligence Tools. Here’s the abstract:
We developed a system to detect positive expectation, disappointment, and satisfaction in tweets that refer to events automatically discovered in the Twitter stream. The emotional content shared on Twitter when referring to public events can provide insights into the presumed and experienced quality of the event. We expected to find a connection between positive expectation and disappointment, a succession that is referred to as anticipointment. The application of computational approaches makes it possible to detect the presence and strength of this hypothetical relation for a large number of events. We extracted events from a longitudinal dataset of Dutch Twitter posts, and modeled classifiers to detect emotion in the tweets related to those events by means of hashtag-labeled training data. After classifying all tweets before and after the events in our dataset, we summarized the collective emotions for over 3000 events as the percentage of tweets classified as positive expectation (in anticipation), disappointment and satisfaction (in hindsight). Only a weak correlation of around 0.2 was found between positive expectation and disappointment, while a higher correlation of 0.6 was found between positive expectation and satisfaction. The most anticipointing events were events with a clear loss, such as a canceled event or when the favored sports team had lost. We conclude that senders of Twitter posts might be more inclined to share satisfaction than disappointment after a much anticipated event.
I’m especially pleased by the straight-faced “most anticipointing events.” And I’m curious to know how you say anticipointment in Dutch.