E-Dictionary Has Modest Beginning
PHILADELPHIA — A couple of technology gurus are looking for some “eyeball hang time.” Um. What? In other words, they want you to spend a lot of time looking at their company’s Web site.
“Eyeball hang time” is one of dozens of terms listed in a new dictionary of e-lingo developed by Tom Bonney and Glenn Frantz of Philadelphia-based Polaris Consulting, a technology consulting firm.
As technology executives, Bonney and Frantz have found that new words constantly are being coined to describe the latest concepts in computers and the Internet. So fast, in fact, it’s enough to give Mr. Webster & Co. fits.
“There’s confusion even in the technology community as to what these terms mean,” says Bonney, 34, executive vice president of the 5-year-old company. “We found that just in our daily business we were having to define these terms, making sure everyone understood.”
Their dictionary of 55 terms has been on their company’s Web site, at www.polarisconsulting.com, since last month, and the duo plan periodic updates. Many of the words — hacker, search engine, spam — are familiar to the casual Web surfer.
Others are more obscure. According to the dictionary, for example:
Fold — The amount of Web information that can be viewed on a computer screen without scrolling.
Internet time — A compressed measure of time to accomplish a business activity or transaction that is multiple times faster than conventional business time. Often, too short to measure accurately.
Stickiness — A measure of the amount of time a user spends visiting or interacting with a Web site. A common term for Web site loyalty. See also, Eyeball Hang Time.
Frantz, 48, vice president of marketing for Polaris, says the definitions are the result of a lot of reading and research. “We may not be correct, but we try to cull from all the definitions out there for … the commonalities,” he says.
Larry Bohn, president and chief executive of the Internet consulting firm net.Genesis — who happens to hold a master’s degree in structural linguistics — says an e-lingo dictionary is a good idea, provided they have time to keep it up to date.
“They better have a lot of people, because the language is changing so fast,” he says. For example, the phrase “clicks and mortar” was first used in July by Charles Schwab co-CEO David S. Pottruck to refer to traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses establishing a presence in cyberspace. Within weeks, the phrase was in widespread usage, Bohn says.
“There’s a zillion of these terms,” he says.
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