Of course not, things are a mess out there. Many words that used to mean one thing are now something else entirely. Like mouse. Who knew that would happen?
So I thought I’d compile a short list of words and symbols that have morphed in our collective vernacular during the last couple of decades.
1. # – This used to be the pound sign, but is now the ubiquitous HASHTAG, a symbol that refers to an address on the social media site Twitter.
2. @ – This used to be the rarely used typewriter symbol for the word “at”. It still means AT but now is used constantly in email addresses all over the world.
3. Virus – This has always (and still is) the word for a number of infectious diseases. That is pretty much what it means now in terms of your computer. When a virus (usually a malicious software program) is introduced into your computer, it causes strange issues to pop up which either slow or debilitate your computer. They must be removed by running other special software. Some can be prevented with anti-virus software. We’ll talk about this in another post.
4. PIN – Used to be a pointy metal stick you stuck into things to hold them in place. Now it’s a secret code you use to access your bank account or any number of other sites, programs or entities. Stands for Personal Identification Number.
5. Tweet - Synonymous with CHIRP, this used to be the sound a bird makes. Now it refers to a 140-letter (character) message you send over the social media site TWITTER. Their symbol is a bird, no doubt in reference to “a little bird told me,” since a lot of tweets are of the gossip variety.
There are dozens more and we’ll play with them another day. And don’t feel bad if you use these words and symbols in all the wrong ways. My mom (who doesn’t use a computer but is astonishingly hip) once said about a piece of news, “She should put that in her twitters.”
Take that, Hashtag.