WordSpy as Collective Intelligence

I’ve long been a fan of WordSpy, Paul McFedries’ site that features definitions and first use of new words and phrases. It’s a great trendspotting tool. The words we use give surprising insight into popular consciousness. Many of them, like junk sleep, silent disco, free-range kid, or Blackberry prayer illustrate new social trends, while others like phantom load or quake lake are terms of art that have entered popular consciousness, and still others, like naked street are like deli.cio.us links to things you’ve never heard of, but could end up being important or useful.

Paul used to offer the service by email, but discontinued it years ago, and as a result my use of the site declined. I was delighted to see that he recently re-instituted email delivery of the new daily WordSpy entry. And of course, there’s RSS, and I just talked Paul into adding a WordSpy twitter feed as well.

I twittered about this, and Erin McKean pointed to another great word site, doubletongued.org.

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