It has been an interesting couple of decades watching language evolve rapidly around substantive, swift changes in our technological lives. The speed of innovations in technology has not always been met with a similarly quick development in language or, at least, in a consistent, agreed upon form of expression that we can all use to describe the same concepts. The announcement by the Associated Press last Friday that their recommended style guide for the phrase “Web site” will now be “website” would seem a small update, but reflects the enormity of change wrought in our lives by technology.
The human condition has always been illuminated in art and science and manifested through a persistent hunger to know more. For millennia, people have explored curiously the worlds around and within us and, along the way, produced momentous works of art, knowledge and scientific discovery. In tandem with those explorations and discoveries, the framework in which to discuss them has also required innovation. By definition, innovative concepts require innovative tags, labels, words and symbols to facilitate a conversation about them.
So, as we move from Web site to website and, most likely, from e-mail, e-commerce, e-anything to eeverything, consider also how our language or symbols of communication, representation, identification and meaning are changing in tune with our understanding of our technological lifestyles. (more…)