April 22, 2010

Right word won't roll off tongue or keyboard for non-conformists, new products

What do you call experimenting journalists without newsrooms?

What do you call a product that will bring together diverse information and publish it many forms?

How much baggage does a new word carry when it is created from old words?

If you were fast, you read that I called Dan Paecho an ex-journalist in a post on his newest venture of presenting the news, a venture called FeedBrewer.

I called him that based on a conversation months ago when I was struggling with how many months out of the newsroom makes you an ex-journalist. The conversation was prompted partially by Wired Journalists decision to limit its network to only journalists.

Over on Twitter, we "discussed" how seeing the ex-journalist in the headline got Dan to "realize I'm not ready to ditch the "journo" description" even though he had for a short time at least.

Indeed, his Twitter bio once again just says journalist, with no sign of the former journalist label that was there. So I changed the headline to read journalist before Dan said that was unnecessary.

Dan says:
"Ex just sounds so final. I prefer "former" (although I since removed that too). I'm all mixed up."

Perhaps "journovator?"

Indeed, Dan is mixed up, mixed up in trying to innovate within a traditional field. He's not alone - check out a Twitter list he maintains and you'll see the names of people who have spent time in and out of newsrooms experimenting with different ways to find the news, define the news and present the news.

I can't tell you when a person needs to give up the journalist title.

And no one could call Dan a traditional journalist. His new venture, FeedsBrewer, will take him further out of the newsroom. Says Dan:
"We need a new term for people who help journalism happen all around them, vs. the traditional definition (only doing it yourself)."journo" description. Perhaps "journovator?""

Although there are people with interests in journalism and innovations, I'm not ready to bless journovator. Can you say it with a straight face?

Dan's Tweeted reply was:
"I dunno, I think "journovator" sounds like it was made for t-shirts -- which is the litmus test for good names."

I think there are terms for people who help journalism happen - publishers, editors, advertisers, news sources, etc. None of those fit  what Dan or his journovators are doing. But I don't have a better idea.

Brewing information

I also don't have a better name for his new venture even after talking about it on Twitter. I started with:
"What we should talk about is @feedbrewer The name generates an image of cooking up RSS feeds"

The Feedbrewer logo (which I've mangled above with words) should inspire thoughts of brewing coffee. Twitter talk also suggested comparing the venture to the act of brewing beer or coffee.

From Dan comes this:
"Think brew as in beer or coffee, not witches' brew. Who knows, perhaps we will make homebrew for a launch party :-)"
I'm sure they've done research and Dan says:
"Personally, I think FeedBrewer rocks as a name. It brews feeds into delicious eye candy. One day, maybe beverages, too."
But when I hear FeedBrewer, I think of RSS feeds pulled into one device for reading. Or perhaps I'm thinking of Feedburner.

I understand I'm in the minority just by knowing of RSS feeds and Feedburner. I know no one put me in charge of language today. But this language thing boggles my mind.

Perhaps InfoStew better reflects this new product, new venture. I can serve stew with its mixture of vegetables and meat in a bowl, over rice, or a mound of potatoes. The product delivers information in a write once, read many ways and places. (Wasnt't write once, read multiple places the dream of the website language html?)

Guess I need to wait for the product to understand what is being said on Feedbrewer's web site and Facebook page.

Crusading for print?

Or perhaps I'm just ornery right now. Another cross platform conversation - started on Twitter, moved onto Facebook, then switched to email - on my crusade for print journalism - ended with an equal amount of frustration.

I never thought of myself as crusading for print, more for journalism, more for the sharing of information in interesting ways, or the telling of stories in multiple mediums.

Look at my past. Even while working for a newspaper company, I pushed for delivering news and information via phone, fax and online. My non-work time went to creating a community computer network that remains alive (barely) 16 years later, to putting Girl Scout information on an email list, on gopher and then the newly World Wide Web.

Crusading for a title

Look at my now. I'm pulling and pushing for information on Facebook, on Twitter, on FriendFeed for Girl Scouts, small businesses, and class reunions.

My eyes now light up as I talk about social gaming and figuring out the puzzles presented by FarmVille for those who call me guru, boss and expert.

I get excited (still) about new product launches, ideas for ensuring a community's stories are shared, and the restructuring of organizations that didn't realize soon enough that most women work now, often for businesses that release work schedules on Friday for the next week.

Now, if only I could find the right word to describe who I am. Retiree ain't cutting it with me.


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