Words Matter – Avoid the “de-words”!

I’m enjoying reading the new book Our Towns – A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James Fallows (@JamesFallows) and Deborah Fallows (@FallowsDeb). On my morning walk this morning I was listening to the audiobook version of Our Towns during their discussion of their time in Eastport, Maine.

During one of Deb’s sections, she commented about local language – and how the locals in Eastport are using language as “a power tool of their development.” She described how a local group of women in Eastport had noticed the use of “de– words” in many articles describing Eastport – “words like: ‘depressed,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘decline,’ ‘despair’” and how those words were often used to describe aspects of Eastport’s economics, services, schools, or population.

Deb describes how this group then set forth to crowd out the de- words with re- words: like ‘rebound,’ ‘rediscover,’ ‘redesign,’ ‘reverse,’ ‘renew,’ ‘reenergize,’ ‘reemerge.’ and that they encouraged reporters and politicians to substitute the more positive words in their descriptions of Eastport. What a great idea!…

For more background on the book – and some of their findings and conclusions from their journey – see this video of them at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

On eBay – Nothing is Inevitable…or Lasts Forever

From The New York Times Magazine:

“EBay, in obvious and subtle ways, has served as a model well beyond the world of commerce, inspiring the systems that play host to discourse, media, culture and communication online. It was among the first true megaplatforms — the sort that establishes itself as something like online infrastructure. And it may be, to date, the last one we truly understand.”

When Did the Majority of Americans Go Wireless-Only?

From: https://www.stlouisfed.org/open-vault/2018/june/fascinating-facts-cellphone-smartphone-usage

The latter half of 2016 was the first time that a majority of American homes had wireless telephone service but no landline. This was noted in the April issue of Page One Economics by Jeannette Bennett, a senior economic education specialist with the St. Louis Fed’s Memphis Branch.

That finding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, which has been releasing briefs on wireless substitution trends in America since late 2006. The center’s July-December 2016 National Health Interview Survey (PDF)revealed that, for the first time, more than half of American homes did not have a landline, but did have at least one wireless telephone. This was a turning point in the long-running survey.