Blending in the Social Media Context
Lewis Carroll invented blending, or portmanteau words, when he wrote a book about Alice and Humpty Dumpty, namely Through the Looking-Glass. Blending is the process of combining the parts of two or more words into one to generate a new meaning. Carroll used this technique to create a feeling of a dream and miracle; however, his invention aroused other authors interest. Since that time, many people use portmanteau words to add some unusual context to the existing words or name new things that derive from the old ones. Blend words are especially popular in the social media context since it is easier to blend two or more words together instead of inventing something new. Besides, one portmanteau word substitutes two or more words, which is convenient for social media because such a communication technique saves time. Today, blend words are used in the social media context to add new meanings to the existing words and make communication easier and faster.
Portmanteau words are the most innovative words in the English language today. With the appearance of new objects, notions, and even feelings, people need to give them names. Thus, they combine two or more old words to create new ones. In the context of social media, blend words get a new function since they not only name an object but also add background to its name. Portmanteau words are quite effective at denoting new concepts that are difficult to name by means of any other terms. For example, the word affluenza is derived from the words affluence and influenza. It can be identified with the peoples dissatisfaction of being subordinated to consumerism. In the context of social media, the word can be used in different articles or blogs to recount the news concerning this issue. In the era of consumerism, almost every customer can have a condition called affluenza.
One can notice that the users of social media websites invent portmanteau words to name new notions and concepts related to modern technologies that have appeared during the last several decades. Moreover, people utilize the blending method to give names to certain people who use the Internet and social networking sites. For example, those who are registered on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or other social networking sites are well aware of such a word as smoaster. This wordoriginates from combining three words, namely social, media, and boaster. Thus, the word smoaster denotes a person who likes to boast via social media websites. Alternatively, the word smoast means the process of boasting via social media. One can argue that there is no need to create a new word for the already existing one because it has the same meaning. However, the users of Twitter or Facebook do not agree with that because they like to differ from other people. Thus, the word smoaster emphasizes the individuality of a person who usually boasts via social media websites only.
Another blend word that often appears in the social media context is blogebrity. This term is the result of blending the words blog and celebrity. Most of the blog users know this portmanteau word, especially those who like to observe the blogs of different celebrities, such as Perez Hilton or Jenna Marbles. In addition, this portmanteau denotes a person, like the previous word smoaster. The term blogebrity may seem useless for those who have no interest in blogs; however, it is widely used by social media surfers. Thus, one can label this word as jargon because it is used by a specific group of people. Interestingly, the word blog is also a portmanteau since it originates from the words web and log. Therefore, one can observe a blend word within another blend word, which can be called double blending.
Further, portmanteau words may denote inanimate objects. For example, the word listicle is made of the words list and article. Today, more and more subscribers of online magazines or blogs can meet this word when browsing those sites. This blend word denotes an article written in the form of a list, or vice versa. For example, one might often find listicles with the following titles: Top 10 Celebrities, 20 People with Best Talents, The 25 Most Ridiculous Advertisements, and other similar headings. All these listicles are supposed to be written as articles but in the form of lists, which makes them more readable and perceivable. The best thing about listicles is the absence of transitions and spacing. There is no need to think about a logical order of the paragraphs because the form of a list is simpler than that of an article. Thus, those who do not want to have problems with writing a whole article can write a listicle,and no one will criticize them for that. Therefore, the portmanteau listicle is widely used in the social media context, providing social media with new opportunities.
Blend words may not only name people or things but also feelings and emotions related to social media and daily occupations. For example, the word Facebored means that someone feels bored with Facebook. A person who makes everyone bored is called a Facebore. The word hangry stems from hungry and angry, denoting a sense of anger that is connected to hunger. Although this word does not originate from social media, it can be used in social media as well. It is evident that such a portmanteau cannot be used in scientific literature; however, it can be easily used in different magazines, journals, and blogs.
The users of mobile phones can also feel the impact of blending on their language. For example, a new notion appeared with the appearance of mobile phones nomophobia. The word is a combination of four words, namely no, mobile, phone, and phobia. Today, more and more psychologists utilize this word to denominate those people who cannot live without their smartphones and even feel fear and anxiety when they forget their gadgets at home. One cannot call such people fearful or anxious because their state is caused by their addiction to mobile phones only. Thus, the portmanteau nomophobia is the best choice to diagnose those suffering from the mobile phone addiction. Moreover, mobile phones influenced the appearance of another blend word mobilegeddon. This portmanteau stems from two words mobile and Armageddon. The notion refers to Google search and the ranking of web pages via Googles search engine. When smart phones appeared, people became able to visit web pages from their devices. Therefore, Google changed its policy and made mobile-friendly web pages appear at the beginning of the list. The new word mobilegeddon was associated with Armageddon because it was identified with the changes of the search engines policies. In addition, the word sexting is also used in the context of mobile phones and social media. It can be associated with the process of texting that has some sexual meaning. For example, sexting may contain sexual images, words, and videos. This type of texting is used on social networking sites and should not be confused with other types of texting. Thus, in the era of mobile phones, blending allows to express new notions and actions using the same words but giving them new meanings.
The users of social networking sites often blend two names together when they are sharing news about a new romantic couple. For example, when someone says Brangelina, he/she means Bred Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The fans of the TV-series The Vampire Diaries use such terms as Delena (Damon and Elena), Bonenzo (Bonnie and Enzo), and Klaroline (Caroline and Klaus). Many celebrities and their partners have such portmanteau names. This type of blending is successfully used in social media to grab the readers and viewers attention and arouse their interest in the news.
Blend words may even become brand names. For example, the brand name Microsoft originates from the words microcomputer and software. The company Verizon blended its name from the words veritas and horizon. Companies use such brand names because they differ from other words, they are new, unique, and, therefore, they can be registered easily. Such blend words are promoted via social media, and the names that are well accepted become brand names for many decades.
Portmanteau words, or blending, are often used in the social media context because they allow creating original names for new things, concepts, feelings, actions, or other phenomena. The users of social networking websites invent new descriptions of their actions, devices, and even Facebook or Twitter friends. Moreover, those people who have mobile phones are also influenced by portmanteau words associated with this devices usage. Moreover, blend words are used to name celebrities and their beloved ones, while many companies use blending when they create brand names for their products. Blending is an invention that allows to diversify the English language and create words with new meanings. In the social media context, portmanteau words are used to make communication easier, faster, and more perceivable. Consequently, blending became an integral part of social media; however, with the appearance of new devices and notions, some blend words are substituted with others, and some of them just vanish. Therefore, portmanteau words can be under the hazard of disappearance.
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