Google Defines the Aughts Decade From Hell, 2009 Year of the Tweet

January 9, 2010

(ChattahBox)—- A group of tweedy members of the American Dialect Society recently met in Baltimore to decide on the momentous decision of what single word defines an entire decade, as well as the final year of the 2000s. It wasn’t an easy decision, considering that great minds were unable to agree on a single name for the decade itself. It’s come down to the Aughts, Aughties and even Naughties. And the decade of zeros had a good run for a while. Economists called the 2000s the lost decade, as the middle class disappeared into a bottomless pit of credit card debt, home foreclosures and joblessness. Time Magazine made a good argument for naming the 2000s, the “Decade From Hell.” And certainly the mood of the decade was grim. Americans suffered through the terrorist attack of 9/11, two wars and the Bush/Cheney years that led our country into a dark period of condoning torture and violating our long cherished principles of human rights and the rule of the law. Bush/Cheney also left us with the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

So, choosing a single word to define such a complicated decade wasn’t easy. Most of us are just happy it’s over. But in the end, the group of linguists and lexicographers settled on Internet technology. Google was chosen for the single word that defines the decade of the 2000s. And 2009 is now officially defined with the word tweet.

Some of the other contenders for a word or phrase of the decade or for 2009 were: “hiking the Appalachian trail,” “Dracula sneeze,” “sea kittens” and “unfriend.”

In the end, the group decided that Google had the most impact on their lives during the Aughts. “I think my life has been more affected by ‘Google’ than ‘9/11,’ ” said a college student at the event.

And why even bother to choose a word to define an entire decade? Richard Bailey, professor emeritus from the University of Michigan said that “Language is an index of our social identity.” Another attendee, Jesse Sheidlower, author of an entire book devoted to the word “F***” believes, “The point of the word of the year thing is that choosing words reflects reality.” “If you choose wrong, you’ve failed in some important way” said the earnest author of “The F-Word.”

Well, there you have it. Our reality for the past ten years has been wrapped up in a search engine and during 2009 our lives have been changed by “tweets.”

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry, but it is what it is. So long to the Aughts and hello to the beginning of a new decade. The next one has to be better, right?

Source: Washington Post


4 Responses to “Google Defines the Aughts Decade From Hell, 2009 Year of the Tweet”

  1. Update Copyright Year in Your Website | Search Engine City – an … on January 9th, 2010 1:18 pm

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  2. Scottie P on January 9th, 2010 8:20 pm

    The only NUMERICAL & MNEMONICALLY correct phrases to name the century’s first decade are AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTS, AUGHTS or NAUGHTY AUGHTIES.

    A few suggestions use one or more specific events that occurred during the decade. They will probably never be used from a radio and broadcasting point of view because they do not encompass this whole decade and they aren’t pleasing to the ear. Radio stations introduce their programming along the lines of “Music from the 80s, 90s and Today”. Soon, they’ll be replacing it with “Music from the 90s (NineTIES), ______TIES and Today”. The best choices contain either AUGHTIES, NAUGHTIES, NAUGHTY AUGHTIES, NAUGHTS or AUGHTS. Using events usually requires one to use adages like “The Age of” or “Era” which is more descriptive of a time period, not necessarily an actual decade. There is a huge difference between what a decade is “remembered for” versus what a decade is “referred to as”. Many suggestions (Age of Confusion, , Era of Misplaced Anxiety, Decade of Disruptions, North goes South, etc) do NOT pass this simple litmus test. Any suggestion that would require you to be a history buff in the future, shouldn’t even be considered.

    The media needs to embrace the only viable choice from a NUMERICAL & MNEMONICAL point of view. The first decade of previous generations did not have this sense of urgency as mass marketing really didn’t exist. The mass marketing concept was introduced to the public with the advent of radio broadcasting of the mid 1920’s (Roaring Twenties) and heightened in the 1940’s with television accessibility.

    Why Naughty Aughties? We NEED an identifier. Not many people can pinpoint the actual years of Generation X and Generation Y, the Stone Age or the Industrial Revolution. Naughty Aughties and its offshoots leave no doubt to this identity as “naught” and “aught” both mean zero. Jazzing up “Naught” to “Naughty” and combining it with “Aughties”, inadvertently describes the tone of the first decade that includes the Years 2000-2009. Marketing sense tells us that the 00’s are not memorable enough nor are they appealing to the public. Naughty Aughties is simple, catchy, rhymes and intimates fun and mischievous behavior, as well as being sweet and sexy. Previous decades are easily identifiable and well marketed, but until now, there seemed to be no cohesion for the years 2000-2009. Naughty Aughties fills the void in a fun and “roll off your tongue” sort of way.

    Obviously, many “naughty” things have occurred in the entertainment, political, sporting and economic arenas from global, national and local perspectives that may depict our moral compass. Jackson’s Superbowl Half-time show, OJ Simpson, Britney Spears, Enron, Martha Stewart, Cheney and Clinton are just a few highlights. Can you come up with more? Sure, you can!

  3. Word Of The Decade - iZeen on January 9th, 2010 10:09 pm

    […] Word of the year. Tweet: noun, a short message sent via the service, and verb, the act of sending such a message. Word of the decade. Google: Verb meaning “to search the Internet.” Generic form of the trademarked “Google,”… Google Defines The Aughts Decade From Hell, 2009 Year Of The Tweet […]

  4. Will Orange County Real Estate Beat Wall Street Again This Next … | Orange County NY Real Estate on January 9th, 2010 10:13 pm

    […] Google Defines the Aughts Decade From Hell, 2009 Year of the Tweet … […]

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