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<<July 2017>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: unfriend, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 6 of 6
1. Odds and Bookends: November 20

Kids books: A conversation with ‘Strega Nona’ author Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola, author of “Strega Nona’s Harvest,” talks about the grandmotherly Italian witch/folk healer and her magic pasta pot.

What to Give & What to Get
More than 40 Penguin authors are sharing book recommendations for holiday gift-giving as part of Penguin’s What to Give & What to Get campaign. Check out videos of authors Nick Hornby, Kate Jacobs, Robert B. Parker and Frank Bruni who share favorite books on camera.

Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend
The New Oxford American Dictionary chose Facebook’s  “unfriend” as its 2009 Word of the Year, according to the OUP blog.

Bark for Books
A fun-filled, literary, family event with author readings, illustration workshops, and opportunities to buy books signed by the authors and illustrators (or “pawed” by protagonists) — just in time for the holidays! The books make thoughtful gifts for the animal-loving children in your life, and extras can be donated to the League’s Read-2-Me program, which provides humane-themed books to classrooms, school libraries and students.

Word Play: Going global
Interested in more than what the U.S. children’s market has to offer? The LA Times shares new imports from British, Dutch and French authors.

Overdue library books returned half century later
A high school librarian in Phoenix says a former student at the school returned two overdue books checked out 51 years ago along with a $1,000 money order to cover the fines.

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2. 8 Reasons to Unfriend Someone on Facebook

Lauren, Publicity Assistant

If you haven’t already heard, unfriend is the New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year. In honor of this announcement, I surveyed Facebook users across the country about why they would choose to unfriend someone.

1. They’ve turned into a robot.
“People send me Green Patches all the time,” said Jane Kim, a television research assistant in NYC. “It’s annoying. And that’s all I ever get from them. Clearly, they’re not interested in actually being friends.”

That’s because your friends are robots, Jane. Marketing robots. These are the friends you never hear from except when they want you to join a cause, sign a petition, donate money, become a fan of a product, or otherwise promote something. Farmville robots are increasingly becoming problems as well, but are not yet grounds for unfriending.

2. You don’t know who they are.
“A few days ago, Facebook suggested I reconnect with a friend whose name I didn’t recognize,” said Jessica Kay, a lawyer in Kansas City. “She’d recently gotten married, but I hadn’t even known she was engaged. I’ll probably unfriend her later. Along with some random people I met at parties in college.”

“You’re tired of seeing [that mystery name] your newsfeed,” said Jonathan Evans, a contract specialist in Seattle. “You haven’t talked to that person since the random class you took together, and you’ll probably never talk to them again.”

3. They broke your heart.
Jonathan Lethem, author of Chronic City, shared that his number one reason to unfriend someone is “because they just broke up with you on Facebook.”

So, maybe they didn’t break your heart. But if the only reason you were friends on Facebook is because you two were somehow involved, it might be time to play some Beyoncé, crack open the Haagen-Dazs and click “Remove from Friends”.

4. You don’t like them anymore.
In the early years of Facebook, users would  friend everyone their dorm, everyone from high school, and every person they had ever shared a sandbox with. But now, many people are finding they no longer like a number of their friends, and spend time creating limited profiles, customizing the newsfeed, and avoiding Facebook chat.

Teresa Hynes, a student at St. John’s University, pointed out that it’s silly to be concerned one of these people might find out you’ve unfriended them and get angry. “You are never going to see them again,” she said. “You don’t want to see them ever again. You hated them in high school. Your mass communications group project is over.”

5. Annoying status updates.
“I don’t want to see ‘So-and-so wishes it was over,’” said Andrew Varhol, a marketing manager in NYC. “Or the cheers of bandwagon sports fans—when suddenly someone’s, ‘Go Yankees! Go Jeter!’ Where were you before October?”

Excessive status updates are one example of Facebook abuse. Amy Labagh of powerHouse Books admits she is irritated by frequent updates. “It’s like they want you to think they’re cool,” she said, “but they’re not.”

A professor at NYU, agreed, and said he finds a number of these frequent updates to be “too bourgie.” “It’ll say something like, ‘So-and-so is drinking whatever in the beautiful scenery of some field.’ I mean, really?!”

The style and type of each update is also important. A number of users agree that song lyrics, poetry, and literary quotations can be extremely annoying. Updates with misspellings or lacking punctuation were also noted. “I once unfriended someone because they updated their statuses in all caps,” said Erin Meehan, a marketing associate in NYC.

6. Obnoxious photo uploads.
Everyone has a different idea about what photos are appropriate to post , but a popular complaint from Facebook users in their 20s concerned wedding and baby photos. “It’s just weird,” said a bartender in Manhattan. “I know that older people are joining now, but if you’re at the stage in your life when most the photos are of your kids, I mean, what are you doing on Facebook?”

“I think makeout photos are worse,” said his coworker. “My sister always posts photos of her and her boyfriend kissing. Sometimes I want to unfriend and unfamily her.”

Across the board, a number of users found partially nude photos, or images of someone flexing their muscles as grounds for unfriending. Another reason, as cited specifically by Margitte Kristjansson, graduate student at UC San Diego, could be if “they upload inappropriate pictures of their stab wounds.”

7. Clashing religious or political views.
“I can’t handle it when someone’s updates are always about Jesus,” said Robert Wilder, a writer in New York.

In the same vein, Phil Lee, lead singer of The Muskies, said he’s extremely irritated by “religious proselytizing and over-enthusiastic praise and Bible quoting. Often in all caps.”

An anonymous Brooklynite shared that he purged his Facebook account after the last Presidential election. “It was a big deal to me,” he said. “I found it hard to be friends with people who didn’t vote for Obama.” After which his friend added, “I voted for McKinney.”

8. “I wanted a free Whopper.”
In January, Burger King launched the Whopper Sacrifice application, which promised each Facebook user a free Whopper if they unfriended 10 people. It sounded simple enough, but if you chose to unfriend someone via the application, it sent a notification to that person, announcing they had been sacrificed for the burger. Burger King disabled the application within the month when the Whopper “proved to be stronger than 233,906 friendships.”

Since Facebook has made the home page much more customizable than it used to be, you might wonder, “Why unfriend when I can hide?” More and more, Facebook users are choosing to use limited profiles and editing their newsfeed so undesirable friends disappear from view. “I find lately I’m friending more people, then blocking them,” said Gary Ferrar, a magician in New York. “That way no one gets mad, no one’s feelings get hurt.”

Do you have another reason? Tell us about it!

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3. Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

Birds are singing, the sun is shining and I am joyful first thing in the morning without caffeine. Why you ask? Because it is Word of the Year time (or WOTY as we refer to it around the office).  Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year.  This announcement is usually applauded by some and derided by others and the ongoing conversation it sparks is always a lot of fun, so I encourage you to let us know what you think in the comments.

Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

Wondering what other new words were considered for the New Oxford American Dictionary 2009 Word of the Year?  Check out the list below.


hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory

paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone


freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Politics and Current Affairs

Ardi(Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009

birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate

choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother

death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed

teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)


brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations

green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations

ecotown - a town built and run on eco-friendly principles

Novelty Words

deleb – a dead celebrity

tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Notable Word Clusters for 2009:

Twitter related:

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4. Ypulse Essentials: 'Unfriend' Named Word Of The Year, 'New Moon' Marketing Mania, Kung Fu Panda World

'Warriors in Pink' on '90210′ (Ford's breast cancer awareness program will be tied into the teen soap to reach those more likely to be affected by than suffering from the disease. Interesting. Also the American Family Assn's call to boycott... Read the rest of this post

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5. Finding the Word of the Year

Ammon Shea is a vocabularian, lexicographer, the author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages and a frequent OUPblog contributor.  In light of our Word of the Year 2009 announcement (WOTY) Ammon has taken a closer look at how WOTY is chosen.  In the post below he reveals the process that led to unfriend being chosen as WOTY 2009.

Every year, at about this time, the New Oxford American Dictionary releases its Word of the Year (WOTY), a combination of solid lexicographic practice and a light-hearted look at the changing face of English today. Since there are quite possibly thousands (or at least dozens) of people out there who wonder “where does the Word of the Year come from?” the following is a brief explanation of what this momentous process entails, and what it does not.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Word of the Year is chosen by a group of unruly lexicographers, drunk on whimsy and an inflated sense of their own power, who are hell-bent on introducing silly words into English. So let’s see what actually happens.

The candidates for WOTY are drawn from three main sources, each of which reflects a particular strength of Oxford University Press and its unrivaled language research program. The first of these is the Oxford English Corpus, a database of over two and a half billion words drawn from current English the world over. The corpus is fully searchable, allowing the editors to find words that have either entered the language or changed meaning significantly enough to warrant attention. The use of the corpus allows tracking of words, and the examination of the shifts that occur in geography, register, and frequency of use.

The second body of candidates to merit consideration for the WOTY is composed of those that have been “catchworded” (catchworded words are those that have been identified as new or unusual usages by one of the vast number of readers who provide citations of word use for the OED and other Oxford Dictionaries). An editor who is responsible for new words in English combines the catchworded items into a digital database, a sort of mini-corpus, in which individual words can be analyzed by frequency, register, and region.

The third source for potential Words of the Year comes from the various editors at OUP, who are continually keeping tabs on the varieties of English and the ways in which these varieties are changing. These words come from the editor’s own reading, or from conversations they’ve had, and from lists of new words that are taken from one of the numerous dictionaries published by OUP.

Once the preliminary list of words has been collected it is sent to a group of perhaps 7 or 8 editors, who commence poking at the words with a sharp stick, weeding out those that aren’t in fact new, or which may new, but not yet widespread enough to be more than a regionalism. The words are all checked to make sure that they do not exist in any current dictionary, and that there is sufficient evidence in the Oxford English Corpus, in various forms of print, and on internet search engines to warrant each one’s inclusion.

This list of words is sent around and winnowed to a short list, which is then itself winnowed to a final list, and from the final list a single word is chosen which has been accorded the honor of being the Word of the Year.

Although the process of picking the WOTY is quite similar to that of introducing a word into a dictionary, this status does not guarantee that the word will be included in any future reference works. The word in question may be quite widespread today and have fallen entirely from use within a few years. The WOTY is not a popularity contest, nor is it simply the word that has been used more than any other over the past year. It is a forward-looking examination of one small aspect of our language, one in which the Oxford lexicographers take a chance on picking the word that they think represents the use of language today, and that will continue to have an influence.

It can be a tricky business, trying to figure out which words will stick ahead of time, and there is no shame in making an educated guess that turns out to not be as accurate several years hence as it seems now. James Murray famously decided to leave the word appendicitis out of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary after receiving advice from William Osler (a famous doctor at Oxford) that it was likely not a word that would ever be in widespread use. A short time later the coronation of Edward VII was delayed after he had to undergo an emergency operation for his appendicitis. Although many people wondered why the word was not in the OED, there was no way that Murray could have made the necessary guess to include it.

The WOTY is an attempt to capture some of the breathtaking fluidity of our language, and to look at its semantic change and inventiveness in real time, through the use of solid research, editorial skill, and intuitive guesswork.

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6. Dr. Irene Levine, author of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, on the Consequences of "Unfriending"

Dr. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends Forever, offers her take on "unfriend," recently named by Oxford American Dictionary as the 2009 "Word of the Year:

"The New Oxford American Dictionary chose the verb "unfriend" as its 2009 Word of the Year (WOTY) and defined it this way: "to remove someone as a ‘friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook." The word "has both currency and potential longevity," explained Christine Lindberg, Oxford's senior lexicographer on the OUP Blog. The choice of this year's word is telling because the act of unfriending (or defriending) is part of the pruning process of maintaining a presence on social media, like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. It's easy to collect more friends than you want or need, including many contacts that may turn out not to be "friends" by any reasonable definition of the word. Fortunately, if someone posts too often, bores you, lurks without posting, has questionable politics or ethics, says something caustic or insensitive, acts unpredictably, or even uses too many exclamation points, it's relatively easy to get rid of them electronically---with no more than a few keystrokes. But dumping a true friend-online or off-isn't as easy because it raises the risk of collateral damage. When two people are really "friends," they're likely to have numerous connections. They may have common friends, live in the same neighborhood, share a workplace or livelihood, belong to the same community or organizations, or have exchanged information (including secrets and confidences) with one another. So a word of caution: Even though a new verb has entered the common parlance, think twice before you unfriend. Doing it carries some of the same risks of dumping someone offline."

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