Friday, May 22, 2009

OnlineSpin: Things Suck

Last week Max wrote "The Golden Age Of Journalism Never Was."

Bob Frumpe wrote, "I'm not saying the situation is 'un-golden' today. But look, it's easy to knock down the idea that there have been great ages of journalism through an argument that all along there have been instances of inaccuracy and imperfection.

But that's like saying there is not a golden age of movies or actors because next to DeNiro and Pacino you have some really bad soap actors. It's a fallacious argument.

A more historic look at journalism would show several golden ages of American journalism. Go back to the Civil War and the rise of wire services and the concept of objectivity. Chart the rise of the New York Times in the early 20th or the Wall Street Journal in the mid-20th. These were great, great surges of improvement and innovation....

Again, I'm not knocking the new breed. It's going to be interesting. But golden ages happen when the right people, circumstances and biz models converge."

Friday, May 22, 2009
Things Suck
By Max Kalehoff

You can't deny it: The word "suck" has gone mainstream.

Its growth has been especially obvious in online media, but also in personal interactions, in business and with friends. The slang has been used for decades in conversation, but its usage in formal and written contexts seems to have exploded in recent years, especially in news publications. I'm sure the conversational nature of social and online media, coupled with a desire among people to appear young and hip, have fueled this trend. To be sure, the word is pithy, assertive and irreplaceable.

So I started writing a short essay about its place in modern culture, but I soon discovered that Seth Stevenson had already written a fine analysis in Slate. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Still, I was curious about the momentum of the word. So I turned to Google News to obtain a historical view. According to Google, roughly 296,000 news articles mentioned the words "suck" or "sucks" between 1900 and 2008.  Of those articles, roughly 204,000, or 69%, were published in the years 2000 to 2008.

Indeed, the apparent explosion in usage is probably influenced by two mechanical factors: 1) More electronic versions of publications emerged in recent years, which Google can easily index; and 2) personal online diaries (or blogs) emerged in the last decade, and many are now part of the Google News index.

But even if the explosion in usage of the word "suck" among news organizations was misrepresented by inconsistent methodologies or technologies, usage seems to have peaked in 2007, for which Google News reported 32,600 instances. In 2008, there were 30,300 instances.

The future? I think suck is an ugly word, and too much usage could get annoying. But, no doubt, it's the optimal word in many situations. It has real purpose. Therefore, my forecast is that usage will hold steady, and it will eventually lose any slang stigma.

And that's where we stand on the word "suck." What do you think?


Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Clickable, a search-marketing solution for small and mid-size businesses. He also writes

Online Spin for Friday, May 22, 2009:

You are receiving this newsletter at as part of your free membership with MediaPost. If this issue was forwarded to you and you would like to begin receiving a copy of your own, please visit our site - - and click on [subscribe] in the e-newsletter box.
For advertising opportunities see our online media kit.

If you'd rather not receive this newsletter in the future click here.
email powered by eROIWe welcome and appreciate forwarding of our newsletters in their entirety or in part with proper attribution.
(c) 2009 MediaPost Communications, 1140 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10001

No comments:

Blog Archive