The words we use are really important. It's a sign of intelligence, communication skills, and knowledge. In tech circles, it's even more important. When you talk about a botnet during an investor meet-up, you better know what the word actually means.
Fortunately, Webster's Dictionary is here to help. This week, they've added several new tech words and made them official. Here's a few of my favorites.
Here's looking at you, Twitter. This term is a minor slight against someone, usually related to their ethnicity or political view. While it's not a tech term per se, it definitely shows up on social media the most. Comments on an article, a mildly offensive tweet, even a sad face emoji on a SCOTUS nomination--they are all signs of microaggression.
Thank the iPhone and Apple for this one. The new iPhone 7 Plus uses a narrow depth of field effect for portrait shots (a blue behind the person in the foreground), and the tech term for that--which has been around a while--is bokeh. Could this term go mainstream to describe someone who is narrow-minded? Yes, it sure could.
It's sad, just really sad. This term describes software that the developer has abandoned and doesn't support anymore, like a lost ship at sea. I'm surprised it's taken this long for the word to appear in the dictionary since it's been a slang term in tech circles for a while. Don't confuse it with vaporware--an app or hardware that never materialized.
If this word doesn't scare you, it should. Botnets are responsible for infecting massive computer networks and causing data breaches that cost millions of dollars. Your email can be the conduit for infection. You click an attachment, an app installs, and (boom!) you are part of a botnet army. People sometimes think this is a positive term. It's not.
Another well-known term that is now official, this one is a sign of our times. When you take a selfie or do a group shot, a photobomb happens when someone pops their head into the frame. Why is this word so, er, explosive? Usually, it requires some stealth and cunning--and a quick movement before anyone notices.
Once again, the online world and social media in particular are to blame for this one. It means a mild demonstration of pride, although it doesn't have to be online. This subtle bragging pops up in comments on Facebook and as tweets. It's a soft pat on your own back, a way to draw attention to an accomplishment or ability.
Guilty as charged on this one. Also: It's about time! Technically, it means a signal sent from one computer across a network for troubleshooting and diagnostic purposes. I use it all the time with a slightly different meaning. If I'm going to ping you about my email or Slack message, it's because I'm nudging you a little. Sorry about that.