'Unfriend' Is Scam, Not Word, of Year

This is one big hacky trend piece, writes Adrian Chen
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2009 9:08 AM CST
A Facebook user edits their settings.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

(Newser) – After "unfriend" won Oxford University Press' Word of the Year, Adrian Chen started typing away at a piece on Internet relationships for Gawker—"Then I realized that the Word of the Year is a huge scam." Here's the evidence: The past four winners have been hypermiling (maximizing gas mileage by adjusting your car and driving techniques), locavore, carbon neutral, and podcast. "These are all just hacky trend pieces from that year, in lexicographic form!"

OUP is just playing to its audience, "journalists and bloggers (ahem) looking for some excuse to take another dip in the honeypot and reuse those novel widgets and gizmos we've been hypnotically waving in front of your faces for the past year." We get suckered in and treat it like "some sort of important gauge of How We Live Now, because, you know, it's the freaking dictionary," writes Chen. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hypermile my podcast."