Inventing a Word for a Facebook Relationship

Whichever language any of us speak, we have rarely shied away from coming up with new words. Now of course, unnamed new things surround us every day—especially new things on the internet. We forget that only in the recent past, we have had to come up with words like email, podcast, blog, crowdsourcing, tweet, the cloud and countless more.

Most of these words (for the time being) originate in English, and migrate to other languages. Some languages go with two words: their adaptation of the English word, and something made up in their own language. Chinese, for example, has a couple of ways of expressing email: 伊 妹儿 (yimeir, which sounds a bits like email) and 电子 邮 件 (dianzi youjian: electronic mail, often shortened to 电邮: dianyou).

When it comes to naming the as yet unnamed, social networking sites are fantastically helpful. My colleague at The Big Show, Jonathan Dyer, used Facebook to great effect when he posted this request:

“Is there a word for someone you have never met yet you share dozens of friends in common and they like or comment on just about everything your FB friends post? If not, will someone invent one so that I know how to refer to <name withheld> when/if I ever meet him?”

Here’s what he got back:

Perifriends

Pre-friend

Viral acquaintance

Virtual friend potential or possible electronic frenemy

Franger

E-quaintance

Strend

Friends once removed

Pseudofriends

Digifriends

Half-lifes

Visiblings

Friendeavours

Friendvilles

Friends-once-removed

Second-friends

Secondhands

Seconnections

The Uninvited

Friendlings

2nd-degreers

Beyonders

Outsidekicks

Plus-twos

Members of my unnetwork

Twoodles

Stalkwards

Collabores

Commentals

Michele Bachmann

Facebrat

Jonathan’s favorite, though, was Facequaintance.

Also in the pod this week:

  • The Iran-based translator of Firoozeh Dumas’ “Funny in Farsi” has vanished, probably arrested.
  • Debunking myths about the Chinese language and things Chinese leaders are believed to have said.
  • Multilingual Angolan singer Lulendo.

Listen via iTunes or here.


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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Inventing a Word for a Facebook Relationship

  1. As always, it is such a delight to follow your pod 🙂 By any means, keep it going for many many years.

    Your admiring franger.

  2. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time
    a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Thank you!

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