Tech/Geo Buzz Words Early 2010 - Rising and Falling Terms and Phrases

At the moment we are mid-writing with various, papers, technical reports and book chapters all seemingly with the deadline of next week. As such and while looking back through previous papers and grants we have identified the 10 phases and buzz words that are either on the rise or on their way down.

Buzz Words on the up...

GeoCloud - geographic data and visualisation tools via cloud computing, we used it in a paper last year and it still feels timely.

Digital Recursion - the activity of representing and accessing digital media which is nested in some form within computer networks. A phrase by Mike Batty, again in a joint paper from last year (see our publications page), he has a tendency to come up with catchy terms.

Web 3.0 - although annoying to many after the over use of Web 2.0, Web 3.0 is arguably read/write/execute with the operating system and the web being one and the same.

Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) - is the harnessing of tools to create, assemble, and disseminate geographic data provided voluntarily by individuals (Goodchild, 2007). Not a new term by any means but still a good one to use in any paper or grant involving geographic information. Indeed its one of the those phases you wish you had come up with yourself.


Mirror Worlds - representations of the real world in scaled down simplified form that were originally pictured as working in parallel to the reality itself but with strong interaction both ways between reality and it mirror. The term was first popularized by David Gerlernter.

Social Shaping - although not a new term by any means it crops up a lot in papers and grant applications at the moment. In short the term can be linked back to MacKenzie and Wajcman's 1985 publication 'The Social Shaping of Technology' where they state that the characteristics of a society play a major part in deciding which technologies are adopted.

With the rise of browser technologies the concepts behind social shaping provide an interesting take on which tech comes to the forefront and we would argue their ever shortening lifespan.

Buzz words on the way down...

Digital - technology that uses discrete (discontinuous) values. By contrast, non-digital (or analog) systems use a continuous range of values to represent information. Slightly worrying as that's the name of the blog, it just feels a bit 90's...

Neogeography - a diverse set of practices that operate outside, or alongside, or in a manner of, the practices of professional geographers. As we mentioned in a previous post, that was 2006-2009, its time to move on.

Far Down -

The Grid - increasingly being replaced in papers by mentioning Web Based Services, which it could be argued can also be seen as The Cloud. The Oxford e-Science Centre define The Grids as:
The name that describes the next significant development in Internet computing. A term first coined in the mid '90s to describe a vision for a distributed computing infrastructure for advanced science projects, the Grid was first properly explained by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman in their book The Grid: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure.
The Grid is currently lost in the trough of disillusionment and all those hours sat at conferences talking about it feel a bit wasted.

Web 2.0 - the term Web 2.0 has been around since 2004 and is still at the forefront of many academic discussions on the future of technology. Coming about as the result of a discussion between Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty on the status of the web, Tim puts forward a list from 2004 which puts the term into context:

Web 1.0
Web 2.0
DoubleClick --> Google AdSense
Ofoto --> Flickr
Akamai --> BitTorrent --> Napster
Britannica Online --> Wikipedia
personal websites --> blogging
evite --> and EVDB
domain name speculation --> search engine optimization
page views --> cost per click
screen scraping --> web services
publishing --> participation
content management systems --> wikis
directories (taxonomy) --> tagging ("folksonomy")
stickiness --> syndication

Wikipedia notes that Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. Web 3.0 is nipping at its heals as a new dawn of read/write/execute leaves Web 2.0 behind.

This post should perhaps be filed under 'ways to write anything but that tricky bit in the paper that's due next week'...