Even Dictionaries Have Reputations to Worry About

December 10, 2007

Even Dictionaries Have Reputations to Worry About

oxford-amer-2nd-sample-page.gifFun piece on how dictionaries are figuring out how public relations works. In today’s New York Times, the article covers how the word of the year is gaining traction as a publicity tool.  “Locavore*” is the 2007 word of the year at the New Oxford American Dictionary.  The editor behind this new word is out on the speaking circuit and receiving great coverage in the print world. “There are very few good ways to get publicity for a dictionary,” remarked one of the Oxford’s lexicographers.  Hey, what about wikipedia! The encyclopedia probably could have said the same a few years ago and fast forward to 2007 and it’s a red hot publicity machine. 
Another statement will go in my saved quote file for presentations: ” The WOTY season now rivals our endless holiday shopfest, stretching from Halloween into January.  I can’t help thinking that 10 weeks of WOTY** fever is about eight weeks more than anyone wants.” This from the language columnist (Jan Freeman) at The Boston Globe.

I think that the reputation of words and WOTY lists are great fun. The words for each year are a lens on our culture. Plus I feel better knowing that it’s not just CEOs and companies worrying about their reputations but words too! Reputation fever is contagious.

 *Locavore = someone who eats locally grown food.

**WOTY = Word of the Year

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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