Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Webinar - the neologism I love to hate

Yes I KNOW English is a dynamic and evolving language, but there are some words that I truly hope will not withstand the rigours of natural selection. My current pet hate is webinar.

Webinar? Holy crap, who thought that sounded catchy and worthy of a place in the dictionary? It even looks stupid, and the sound of it makes my ears bleed. It’s an ugly word and it’s stuck in my head. It refuses to go away; a nasty persistent little ear-worm that makes me want to scream. It’s more persistent than the “Wimmaway” bit of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which was previously the most annoying ear-worm I’ve ever had.

For anybody who’s been living in a hole underground for the past few years, a webinar is a web-based seminar. Saying three syllables is so much more oxygen-efficient than five, which is obviously why the word was invented. If you say webinar ten times in a row you will have saved yourself 20 syllables. For that you can have a free supercalafragilisticexpialidocius and still be one syllable ahead. Big fat monosyllabic deal.

You save yourself 10 keystrokes every time you type webinar instead of web-based seminar – so perhaps for anybody who is likely to type the term a hundred times a day it may increase their productivity, as well as the length of time they have before they develop RSI. They know who they are - those idiots who keep sending me emails inviting me to bloody webinars. Hey, you people – guess what? I just delete them! To me, the word webinar is like a Call to Delete.

Why do I hate webinar so much? I love inventing words, after all. You’d think I would applaud neologisms. Here’s a secret – I only like them when they’re a bit creative. I think webinar sounds cheap and nasty, slick and lazy. It drums up images of sombre-suited, brylcreemed men with five o’clock shadows and a cheesy, unoriginal pick-up line. It’s the “do you come here often?” of neologisms. Yuk.


Linda said...

LOL! I just searched for "I hate webinar"--was talking about it on Twitter tonight--and whom should I find but a motorcycling word crafter. A bit like me, really. :)

I have much the same reaction to that obnoxious word as you describe here.

Sue said...

"SNAP"! Linda, I'm glad I'm not the only one! People have been looking at me kind of strangely since I wrote that, heh heh.

Nick said...

After deleting an invitation to a webinar I got really angry about the word. It takes something away from the English language rather than adds to it.
Like Linda I searched for "I hate the word webinar".
Nice blog Sue.