Jun 3rd, 2010
One of the best things about having an annual subscription to the Associated Press Stylebook is its regular updates. I learned how the Christmas Day bomber spells his name, for instance, and how it’s pronounced. It’s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK’ ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH’-lahb). In my line of work, I don’t deal with terrorist suspects, but I appreciate knowing the info’s there anyway.
Just this week I got another update that made me realize I’m not too technologically challenged – at least in knowing the terms for fast-changing technology. AP has listed nearly 50 terms or words with new definitions that are associated with social media. In fact, the editors have created a whole section called Social Media Guidelines in which the umbrella term is defined: “tools that allow the sharing of information and creating online communities.” I applaud the conciseness. While you could argue you’d have to have been under a rock the past few years not to know about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it’s also clear that traditional media reporters have a lot to learn about their online cohorts, whom they do they quote. AP points out (to those gullible few) that “phony accounts are rampant in the social media world.” You don’t say.
The fact that AP just now chose to recognize – and in its way legitimize – social media, says to me that the editors were like most conservative institutions and dismissed friending and tweeting as passing fads, but now have decided, like most of us, to just go with it. Why not get a Facebook page? It’s a great way to keep up with folks and reconnect with old, nearly forgotten friends.
By the way, I ran through the terms just to make sure I knew them all. I did pretty well; only hashtag threw me.