When I got all upset about the word “trending”

Chalk it up to a bad day I guess. Back in 2014, I railed in an editorial about the word “trending.” Trending, as I saw it then, was a distillation of everything that was wrong in our society: the overemphasis on vapid celebrities, the idea that Twitter (and other social outlets) are as informative as real news outlets. Oh, how naive I sounded.

But I’m not wrong

In the last five years, “trending” has become an accepted verb. I can’t tell you if it ever made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, as that’s moved behind a paywall. It’s a legitimate term on dictionary.com and on merriam-webster.com. I seem to have lost the battle to keep “trending” from trending.

In the last five years, though… we’ve seen more relevance placed on celebrities and now, social media is a legitimate news outlet. Without getting too political, you have to look at facts here. Major announcements are made on social every day.

Whether or not it is right and just to judge whether or not things are trending (note, I dropped the quotes because it’s a real verb) isn’t the point. I guess you just have to accept it.

I’ve given up the fight on “trending…”

…but there are other words that get my goat now. I’ve moved on to hating anything that starts with “insta.” I get it. Instagram is a legitimate force for creating celebrities and molding public opinion. It’s also very convenient to use “insta-” as a prefix to set a mood. To be famous is one thing. To be “insta-famous” is a far more specific thing. Insta-fame makes one famous for being famous. It marks a person as one of the regular folks who have risen up in order to become the flavor of the moment. It’s both an achievement as seen by the populace and a term of derision as seen by the establishment.

After all, insta-fame is even more fleeting than regular fame and insta-celebrities could be forgotten tomorrow. It’s only when they “cross over” to truly being famous that they can hope to have any sticking power.

What words bother you?

It’s ok to be a little curmudgeonly here at The Solid Signal Blog. So, leave a comment below! What words get on your nerves? What terms land with a harsh thud? Let us know, and who knows, maybe your response will start… trending.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.