Social Media Transforms the English Language:
CollinsDictionary.com Begins Crowdsourcing New Words
By Alex Brown
That’s exactly what we did. In July, we opened up CollinsDictionary.com to crowdsourcing, encouraging English speakers from around the world to submit words they believe should be included in the dictionary. More than 1,500 suggestions were made in the first week at www.CollinsDictionary.com/whatsyourword, with many of the submitted words emerging from social media and technology, as well as pop culture.
Opening up the submission process to the public doesn’t mean that just any word will be included. We’ll continue to rely on the same rigorous vetting process we’ve always used to make sure that, while we stay current, we also stay credible. Encouraging participation by celebrities, bloggers and the public makes the selection process even more complete by making sure we don’t miss words that might just be entering the lexicon.
So far, we’ve seen submissions such “tweeps,” “Tebowing,” “cray” and “yolo.” These words have skyrocketed to popularity because of the reach that social media gives to pop culture influencers. The prevalence of online networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google has fueled the discussion and increased the speed of adoption. While some of the more trendy language will certainly fade, there are some words that will be in our conversations for a long time to come.
To increase the likelihood that a word will be included, submitters must make a compelling case for their entries, such as providing example sentences or word origins. A higher number of overall uses could also help a word get noticed. In a matter of a few weeks, the Collins Dictionary editors will provide feedback on suggestions, and any submissions that aren’t accepted will continue to be monitored and reviewed.
We look forward to officially adding the first batch of winning words and seeing social media continue to shape the English language as we make this a permanent feature on our website. Don’t forget to spread the word using #whatsyourword!