Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's Word: statusphere

We've all heard of the twitterverse and the blogosphere, but as social media have grown, the different online outlets for self-expression have blurred. Facebook now supports hashtags and retweet-type abbreviations. Your tweets can be automatically sent to your Facebook page, MySpace page, or other social networking page. Third-party Twitter apps like Tweetdeck can now also update your Facebook and MySpace statuses, as well as monitor your friends' updates.

As the lines blur, platform-specific terminology becomes less useful, and more general terms are needed to describe what people are doing online.

Along comes this wonderful neologism, statusphere, to describe the morass of personal updates and information being channeled through social networking sites. Or, as Brian Solis more eloquently puts it, statusphere is "the new ecosystem for sharing, discovering, and publishing updates and micro-sized content that reverberates throughout social networks and syndicated profiles, resulting in a formidable network effect of movement and response."

Brian traces the origin of this term — at least in this context — back to February 7, 2009, but the word statusphere is noted to have appeared in Time magazine way back in mid-1978. Back then, though, it referred to the places where "people of status" lived — like Hollywood, New York, and Nashville.

I'd love to see statusphere take off as a common online term. It's simply a perfect neologism, drawing equally from age-old vocabulary (stratosphere) and new-fangled technology (status updates). I'd love to see it become 2010's Word of the Year (are you listening, lexicographers?), so start using it today!!!