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My Aunt V., creator of the word "Rovenge," has come up with another neologism:

e-social: A subset of asocial, where someone is so distracted by electronic devices that he ignores the people around him.

Inspired by watching a high-end SUV pass us one night with both flip down DVD players on for the back seat. I felt sorry for the kids, who will grow up never knowing how to fight with a siblings in the back seat.

If the e-social person is focusing exclusively on his phone, I would also suggest the term "cell-centered."

Posted on April 16, 2007 to Neologisms


It is sad that today's e-social children will grow up without the true roadtrip pleasures of:

- Complaining that Bobby is on my side of the seat
- Playing fun car games like "Billboard Alphabet" and "All My Cows Are Dead"

Billboard Alphabet (where you had to find a billboard or road sign with a word starting with a particular letter, moving alphabetically from the letter "A") had a simple strategy to it for our family: Be the person who got to find the first letter if you weren't going to Denver Stapleton Airport. The only sign with "Q" on it between Laramie, WY and Denver, CO was the Quebec Street exit near Stapleton Airport.

Posted by: Lost Poke on April 16, 2007 9:17 AM

I wonder if older generations felt as sad for me as I do for today's youth.

Posted by: Nathan on April 16, 2007 10:08 AM

Nathan - Yes, they did. "These kids today won't know the joy of a block of wood. It took imagination to see the fire engine inside of it. Now you just go to the store and get the fire engine pre-carved. What fun is there in that?"

Cue When I Was Your Age by Weird Al.

Posted by: Steve S. on April 16, 2007 10:50 AM

I've been racking my brain for a word that implys the same thing, but employing the term "bluetooth".

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on April 16, 2007 11:53 AM

Wait a minute. Please explain "All My Cows Are Dead."

Posted by: odk on April 16, 2007 11:56 AM

Today, a coworker inspired me to create (standard caveat regarding potential, unknown "prior art") this term:

"Incompinence: noun - The condition of being so egregiously incapable of performing one's duties that one cannot but shit all over everything everyone else is doing."

Posted by: Matthew Peck on April 16, 2007 1:37 PM

How appropriate is it that I'm reading (and commenting on) this post instead of participating in the meeting that I'm in right this minute?

Posted by: Lori on April 16, 2007 3:37 PM

Alternatively, e-social could describe somebody who socialises almost entirely through Livejournal, blogs, Myspace, Facebook and similar.

Posted by: Andrew on April 16, 2007 4:01 PM

In the spirit of alternative vocabulary and the automative experience, I offer this phrase I coined about 20 years ago after moving to the metro NYC area for the first time:

"immaculate congestion" -- those situations in which you are crawling bumper-to-bumper for several miles on a high-speed highway, then all of a sudden, the traffic accelerates to normal speeds without there being any road construction, accident or other apparent cause for the slow-down.

Posted by: David Green on April 16, 2007 8:21 PM

‘Remember, there is no ‘u’ in i-Pod.’

Posted by: Lung the Younger on April 17, 2007 2:30 AM

David: As for traffic slowdowns, have a look at http://www.amasci.com/amateur/traffic/traffic1.html

It proposes that traffic slow-downs are actually compression waves travelling through the traffic, caused at first by some incident (possibly very minor, like someone braking) and then grow and move, as cars slow down, and then the ones behind them slow as well, etc.

Posted by: Edgr on April 17, 2007 3:00 AM

Well holy bananas, batman. I feel like i just had my first successful visit to a therapist and came away diagnosed. Since i didn't grow up with electronicity, i am the ultimate e-socialite. I can't help it, i just can't multitask. Not when i could be watching my sister play super mario three dude!

Posted by: Robes on April 17, 2007 5:26 AM

Most irritating example of this behavior: people who carry on text conversations while in social situations. They stop the conversation, or temporarily drop out of conversations to text. Very, very annoying, and probably confined largely to people my age (early 20s) or younger, most likely with dramatic relationship angst. Often ends with the texter storming out dramaticly to make a phone call or interrupting the conversation in progress to outragedly recap the whole thing.

Posted by: Bryna on April 17, 2007 7:16 AM

We boast that we're all so connected these days but as we gain more and more devices (e.g. ipod) we become more disconnected from those around us. Definitely the case if you walk around a college campus.

Posted by: Claire on April 17, 2007 8:27 AM

All My Cows Are Dead: This was a road trip game my Grandfather taught us.

Each kid or team of kids picks one side of the car. They get to count and add up all the cows they see on that side of the car along the way. If they pass a cemetary on their side of the car, then "All your cows are dead" and they have to start again at zero. Whoever has the most cows at the end of the trip wins.

Similar to the "Q" problem, we knew where all the cemetaries were on our regular routes, so we ended up fighting over who got the right side of the car (there was a cemetary on the left side near LaPorte CO), and the game had to be abandoned unless we were going on trips to previously uncharted territories.

Posted by: Lost Poke on April 17, 2007 8:42 AM

In the spirit of "Rovenge," my linguist brother decided America is currently living under a "proctocracy" -- government by assholes.

Posted by: Judy on April 17, 2007 8:58 AM

I promise older generations that I will lobby for the end of in-car television. Our kids shouldn't have the right to be mobile AND dumb.

Posted by: Hugo on April 17, 2007 10:05 AM

First time here.

actually, i think e-social sounds more like someone who only has a social life online (though that's probably a consequence of it)

Posted by: Alcari on April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

thank you for finding the right word to decribe my current situation. Yes, I am, unfortunately or not... very "e-social"

Posted by: meleah rebeccah on April 17, 2007 3:46 PM

First time commenter..

My husband likes to converse while listening to music through his earphones. Does anyone else think this is rude? We argue about it daily.

Posted by: notquiteawake on April 17, 2007 4:35 PM

or the backseat chanting loop of:
when are we gonna be there, boom,
when are we gonna be there, boom
when are we gonna be there, boom

u get the idea...

Posted by: a Dad on April 17, 2007 9:06 PM

The two proposed definitions of e-social, "only has a social life online" and "so distracted by gadgets that they ignore everyone around them," are in fact the same.

Posted by: Jerry Kindall on April 17, 2007 10:10 PM

My husband likes to converse while listening to music through his earphones. Does anyone else think this is rude?

Absolutely. It's just common courtesy to take out the earphones. (Same goes for when you reach the cashier in a shop)

Posted by: Andrew on April 18, 2007 2:52 AM

Your Aunt V. has a definite way with words.

Regarding the earphone thing: husband of a friend of mine will not converse with people if they have earphones in. What he'll do instead is mouth his response to whatever they said, so that they take the earphones out. Passive aggressive? Maybe. But it works.

Posted by: Valerie on April 18, 2007 5:20 AM

Thanks, Aunt V!

Or should I say, RICH LITTLE!

Posted by: Mickey on April 18, 2007 9:16 AM

Hello everyone, wanna be part of some kind of community, possible here? anyone here?

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