Vocablet of the Day: Selfie

It’s Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013, and if you have a smartphone or a computer with a webcam, it’s probably something you’re familiar with.

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Sometimes you need a picture of yourself — for a social media profile, to document a new hairstyle, or just because you want one — and the easiest way to make that happen is with a photograph that one has taken of oneself, usually with a smartphone or webcam.

Selfies are all the rage these days, with everyone from celebrities to politicians snapping quick pics of themselves and posting them online.  Some say that selfies are further evidence of the increasing narcissism of society brought on by social media websites like Facebook and Instagram, while others argue that people have created self-portraits for centuries, and the selfie is just a new version of that.

Do you take selfies and post them online?  What do you think of the whole selfie phenomenon?

Study ‘selfie‘!
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Vocablet of the Day: Contingency

When most people think of emergency plans, they think of floods or blizzards or blackouts.  Some people, however, have plans for more spooky contingencies.

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Some might say that preparing for a future zombie apocalypse is silly, but others might say that it’s smart to think of every possible event or occurrence or result.

Eeeek! Zombies!

Pop culture’s current interest in zombies has some people thinking about what they would do if the dead came back to life.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States are using this interest to promote public preparedness for natural disasters and other, less supernatural, contingencies.

Do you plan for contingencies like hurricanes or earthquakes?  Or do you have a zombie apocalypse plan?

Study ‘contingency‘!
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Vocablet of the Day: Got Wind

Ever tried to keep a secret, but somehow it got out?  How did you handle it?

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When looking for a new job, it’s best to be a little secretive about it at your current job.  But what do you do if your boss became aware of your job search?

It’s a tricky situation: you’re looking for work somewhere else and your boss got wind of your activities.  Do you confess or deny it?

If you were planning a surprise for your spouse and he or she got wind of it, how do you handle it?  What other situations would be ruined if someone got wind of what you were doing?

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Vocablet of the Day: Predispose

Gossip can cause us to make judgments about people we don’t know, even in the most surprising ways.

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When you hear negative things about a person before you meet them, you’ve already been caused to more likely behave in a certain way toward them, but that’s not all.

Bad-mouthing someone behind their back might predispose your listener to think that person is ugly -- inside and out!

Spreading gossip is bad for many reasons, but a new study shows that it can do more harm than you might think.  Not only does gossip predispose us to think badly of someone’s personality before we know them, it can also make us think they are physically less attractive!

Imagine someone told you that your new coworker (who you hadn’t met yet) was mean and selfish.  When you meet him, you might be predisposed to think that he is uglier than you would have thought if you’d been told he was kind and generous.

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Vocablet of the Day: Oblivion

When you’re walking down the street, smartphone in hand and earbuds in your ears, how much are you aware of what’s going on around you?

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Smartphones, iPods, PDAs… all of today’s hand-held technologies are so fascinating that they can actually put us into a state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.

It’s okay to slip into oblivion when sitting safely at home with your iPhone, but that trance-like state can be dangerous on the street.  Pedestrians who fall into “iPod oblivion” might not notice sidewalk hazards, traffic, or other pedestrians, putting themselves at risk

The oblivion-iPod Danger Vocablet highlights the problem of focusing too much on technology instead of paying attention to your surroundings.

Have you ever experienced iPod oblivion?  How do you think you can avoid it?

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