"Tweet", "Viral" Top List of Banned Words, Again

For yet another year, terms used in the world of social media have become far too prominent in society's everyday lexicon. At least that's according to a Michigan school's annual list of banned words, in which 'viral' was the most loathsome word uttered throughout 2010.

For yet another year, terms used in the world of social media have become far too prominent in society’s everyday lexicon. At least that’s according to a Michigan school’s annual list of banned words, in which ‘viral’ was the most loathsome term uttered throughout 2010.

Since 1976, Lake Superior State University has released their much anticipated list on New Year’s Day. People from around the world submit entries to what is officially called ‘The List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.’ Every year the list captures the attention of the nation, accurately calling out phrases that have become meaningless and annoying. For a second straight year, social media has made words that once clever or creative, now are ugly and banal.

The call to ban social media terms from last year simply failed, so to speak.
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This year ‘viral’ led the way in popularity, or unpopularity as it were, based on more than 1,000 submissions. “I knew it was time when the 2010 list of banished words appeared in Time magazine’s, ‘That Viral Thing’ column,” wrote in Dave Schaefer of Glenview, Ill.

‘Fail’ also made the list, as the verb has so often been used as a noun and adjective in the blogosphere (it should be noted that ‘blogosphere’ has not made it to any list of banned words, yet.) Facebook and Google also make the list as grammatically malleable words, with people decrying their use as verbs. “As bad as they are, the trend can only get worse, i.e. ‘I’m going to Twitter a few people, then Yahoo the movie listings and maybe Amazon a book or two,” wrote Jordan of Waterloo, Ont.

Last year, ‘tweet,’ ‘app,’ and ‘sexting’ made the list of infamous words as did using ‘friend’ as a verb, a syndrome caused by Facebook. Years prior saw ‘LOL,’ ‘pwn,’ ‘blog,’ and ‘webinar,’ banned to varying degrees of success.

History shows that in the coming 12 months new words or phrases will be created by web users, then they will be overused, and then surely they will be banned just as quickly. The irony of a list posted on news and entertainment sites, blogs, and sent through email denouncing the use of ‘viral’ should also be observed.

The full list can be viewed on the school’s website, as can user comments and a history of banned words.