As a professional computer person of any type, one learns very quickly that we must find a way to deal with people using incorrect, often bizarre terminology when referring to technical stuff.
One must train their ear to hear “VGA cable” when someone says “monitor cord with the blue thing on the end.” A monitor might be a “screen” or be talked about as if it is the computer itself. “Window” refers to windows, dialogue boxes, command prompts, or any other rectangle. And anything in bar format will have a unique name depending on who you’re talking to at the moment – just forget about the words “taskbar,” “ribbon,” “menu bar,” etc.
I really don’t give a shit if they know the proper words for things. Sure, it would make my life a lot easier to hear an accurate description of a problem or to not have to tell people where to click by sounding like a dyslexic reading the first part of the Konami code. But let’s leave that brain effort to doing whatever the hell it is they do that earns the overhead which is my salary.
But there is one weird-ass language development that I cannot abide. The “My [blank].” My Facebook. My Twitter. My whatever-the-fuck-piece-of-software-I’m-talking-about-at-right-now. My phone (almost everyone I’ve ever heard use this construction has an iPhone, and that shit belongs to Apple, kids).
Someone said “my Google Chrome” the other day, which really drove home how entrenched this concept is.
I’m no psychologist, but it seems to me that these software companies have exceedingly good marketing departments which are exceedingly good at convincing people that their use of these products confers some type of ownership.
It was once standard (and proper, for that matter) to refer to “my Facebook page.”
So, let’s compare the two sentence constructions.
The latter makes “Facebook” an adjective within a prepositional phrase. Given a contextual antecedent, it would be nonessential, allowing for the phrase to be shortened to “my page.” The indication in this construction is that one has ownership over the page, and that Facebook is merely the type of page they own.
The former is far simpler. “Facebook” is the object of the preposition. The indication is that one has direct ownership of Facebook.
That’s where it gets complicated, at least for me.
I do not understand how that word is being used conceptually. The simple page structure no longer exists. It’s all a (Doctor forgive me for saying this) wibbly-wobbly mash of sharing and friends and not really friends and companies and branding stamps and all sorts of shite. What once was a list of the activities of friends has been purposely shaped into a marketing tool for the highest bidder.
Having walked away from FB quite a while ago, perhaps I have a different perspective. One of the big reasons I stopped using that service was because I was tired of slowly watching my content ownership dissolve. At one point, they were happy to let you post anything and retain rights because they wanted to make things look appealing in order to get more users. Now that virtually everyone is on there, the individual is a commodity.
Aside: I also stopped using that crap because the dynamic fell apart. Suddenly there was “etiquette” and everyone’s parents were on there and it was very easy for every dickhead I’d ever met to find me. I won’t even get into the fact that it’s become an acceptable substitute for actual friendship.
There are other social services that I use. I’m just not ever going to talk about them like they’re in any way mine. The things I post are of my mind, and their totality is an appropriate representation of who I am. That’s it. At most, the only “my” in this equation is my username.
It’s one of those things that, hopefully, will fade away fairly quickly. Like Napster or penicillin-treated clap.
Perhaps if people to read up a bit on how very little these social sites’ owners care about you and yours (and remember that information for more than five minutes), they’d not be so quick to claim them as their own.
The always-interesting Marginal Revolution put up a link this morning to a story referencing this HuffPo piece about what teenage girls actually do on their phones. I have to say that I’m more confused about this whole thing than ever now. 165 motherfucking text messages a day? Not hanging out with someone for 6 months because they don’t have a shitty iPhone? These little bastards need to get a life. A real one that exists in the real world.
Also, I’ve been more flirtatious with the idea of having a kid in the last year or so. That’s the end of that.