We know all about the highs and lows of social media. It’s crept into every corner of our lives to the point that it’s become a case of “can’t live with it, can’t live without it”.
If you think I’m overstating, consider the fact that it has even consumed the attention of one of the most respected institutions of our time – The Oxford Dictionary. The 2023 Word of the Year is “Goblin Mode”. This term describes unabashedly self-indulgent, lazy, or greedy behaviour that defies societal norms, all stemming from a Twitter hashtag.
The Oxford Word of the Year is an annually debated term or phrase that captures the spirit of the year and has lasting cultural significance. “Selfie”, another social media brewed term, got the trophy in 2013. In 2021, “vax” won.
Have the wise ones behind the annual award inadvertently created a litmus test of society to rival the Gallup World poll?
So, when I came across the term ‘sad fishing’ (a tendency of social media users to publish exaggerations of their emotional states to generate sympathy), I took note. We know the pandemic left many feeling sad and bad – and here we are.
Will ‘sad fishing’ catch the eye of the cats at Oxford? Digging around, I found some other gems that shed some light on just how well we’re faring as a planet so far in 2023.
FOMOnomics: The economic theory that ties consumer spending to the fear of missing out on trends or experiences.
Memeology: The study or belief in the mystical power of memes to shape popular culture.
Nomophobia: The fear or anxiety of being without one’s smartphone or mobile device, often leading to compulsive checking and engagement with social media.
Retweetopia: A state of excitement and joy when someone’s tweet gets widely shared and praised.
Are we doomed? Not if South Africans have anything to do with it. For years, the last word in the book was “zynthum”, a beer made in ancient Egypt. But in 2017, zynthum was usurped by “zyzzyva”, a South African weevil. (Trust South Africans to always have the last word). The word ‘bokke’ (South African. An antelope) was added in 1812. Maybe it’ll be word of the year in 2024 – here’s hoping.
What the world was musing over the past week
Who wore it best?
“Don’t look at it when hungover”. This was the verdict on SA’s alternative kit for the Rugby World Cup as rated by The Telegraph. Their ranking of Every 2023 Rugby World Cup shirt will help you identify who’s who – but is also a great read.
New York’s Airbnb apocalypse
Good news for hoteliers, the Big Apple lost 15,000 short-term lettings thanks to a new law that came into effect. The goal? Free up apartments to tackle rising rentals and homelessness in the city.
Is Trevor Noah for sale, or not?
Rumours swirled that one of our greatest exports, Trevor Noah, was being paid R33 million to front an ad selling us the world. Finally, the funnyman had his say on the matter.
World’s loneliest lion returns to Africa
Welcome home, Ruben! Dubbed the world’s loneliest lion, Ruben found the chance at a new life in South Africa after five years of solitary confinement in a concrete cell in Armenia. Watch this old guy taking is first steps on home soil.