Every year the American Dialect Society votes on the “Word of the Year”. This year, their selection is very Twitteresque!
This year the selection is: HASHTAG
Hashtag refers to the practice used on Twitter for marking topics or making commentary by means of a hash symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase.
Tweet Brander is very fond of the Hashtag. We use it in our logo. We use it in our Twitter profile picture. You get the picture. We love the hashtag.
Here is more about the American Dialect Society’s decision:
Presiding at the Jan. 4th voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of MacMurray College, and Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. Zimmer is also a language columnist for the Boston Globe.
“This was the year when the hashtag became a ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk,” Zimmer said. “In the Twittersphere and elsewhere, hashtags have created instant social trends, spreading bite-sized viral messages on topics ranging from politics to pop culture.”
Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item” — not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year. The vote is the longest-running such vote anywhere, the only one not tied to commercial interests, and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 124-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, editors, students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.
Here’s to happy Hashtagging!