Social Media Web Culture

3 Emotions Caused by the Internet That There Are No Words For

Justin Pot 22-04-2015

Sometimes there’s just no word for a particular idea. Shakespeare knew, in those circumstances, to just make one up – which is why we have words like “assassination”, “cold blooded” and “swagger” today.


English regularly borrows words from other languages, especially when there’s no equivalent. For example: the German word “schadenfreude” started popping up a lot in the early 1990’s, thanks to The Simpsons, and then again in the early 2000’s, thanks in part to a song performed by puppets. The reason: it’s a feeling we all have regularly, but didn’t know there was a word for.

Language evolves alongside human experience, and the web’s affect on human experience is of course profound. Some web terms have already entered the lexicon Don't Poke Me! How Internet Slang Words Have Transformed Language It's amazing to see how Internet words are having such a tremendous impact on the English language. Let's go back in time and observe just how many have infiltrated the English language Read More : selfie, fail, and facepalm all need no introduction.

There are plenty of Internet experiences we all have every day, that lack names. Let’s name them, together.

1. The Undeniable Urge to Correct Strangers Online

You’re scrolling through Facebook, when you notice your friend linked to something you’re interested in – science, religion, sports, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the comment someone else, presumably a friend of your friend, posted below the article – which you know with 100 per cent certainty to be wrong.

You have to do something. You dive deep into writing a response How To Respond To Fallacious Arguments On The Internet [Stuff to Watch] These eight videos are a polite way to point out fallacies. Happy conversing, Internet! Read More , correcting the record and hopefully setting your friend’s friend on the path to enlightenment.


Of course, it doesn’t work; the friend argues back. Other people jump in, defending the original incorrect statement. I hope you’ve got the next couple of hours free, because you’re about to go down the rabbit hole.

This is a feeling we’re all familiar with, but there’s no word for it. The closest thing we have is this comic from XKCD:


The comic is incredibly effective at communicating the feeling, and is commonly linked to or embedded for just this reason. But I think we need a word. Any ideas?


2. Things You’re Not Sure Are Real or Fictional, But Love Anyway

The other day, while scrolling through Twitter, I saw this:

This is what the Internet is for, right? Obscure, fascinating things that lead you down a rabbit hole of thought for just a few moments.

Personally, I loved how a label that looks so clerical, so sterile, is on a jar of something so familiar: peanut butter. I love that I can picture this shelf as being in a closet beside any lab I’ve ever visited, and I love that it’s all from NIST How to Synchronise Your Computer Time With The Internet On A Custom Schedule [Windows 7] Read More – a huge government building I live a bike ride away from, but have never visited. Are they all just playing with peanut butter in there? $751 peanut butter, calibrated to be the proper texture and consistency for Science?


Also: is this just made up? I could make this in Photoshop in about five minutes, after all. Surely they’re not actually making $751 jars of peanut butter, right? That’s insane.

I had all of these thoughts, and more, in about a second. I smiled, maybe even laughed to myself a little. Then I kept scrolling, because Twitter.

This feeling isn’t about truth: it’s about delight in something you can’t be bothered to confirm. This is something I suspect most Internet users experience several times a week, and it needs a name. Any suggestions?

(In case you’re curious beyond delight: the peanut butter is real, according to a New York Times article from 2003. Go head: destroy your sense of wonder by reading facts).


3. Feeling Like The Last Person on Earth To Find Out About Something That Happened 15 Minutes Ago

February 26, 2015 was…interesting.

I spent most of the day offline, trying to get some writing done. I read about the net neutrality ruling in the morning, and assumed that would be the big story of the day.

Two hours later, when I checked Twitter during a break, everyone was talking about llamas Llama Font: Type In Fonts That Uses llamas As Characters Read More as though I should just know why. I didn’t, and never fully figured out what was up going on (apparently some llamas were terrorizing Arizona?)

Then, a couple hours later, everyone was talking about #TheDress, and saying they were on different #Teams, and you know what? That was enough Internet for the day.

That was an extreme day, sure, but it’s really common to open up social media and feel like you’ve stepped into a conversation already in progress – one where everyone assumes you’re already in on the joke. It’s disorienting, and there’s not really a word for it. Any ideas?

What Other Internet Feelings Need Words?

These are just three things we all feel regularly online, but which have no names. So I’m asking you, dear readers, to dream up names with me in the comments.

While we’re at it: what other online feelings need names? Let’s identify a few more. I’m really looking forward to the conversation.

Related topics: Facebook, Online Community, Twitter.

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  1. Anonymous
    July 24, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I have a definition for feeling #1 Netpicking.

  2. Violeta Nedkova
    April 24, 2015 at 8:46 am


    Let's see... what else...

    Feeling like someone ripped you off because they shared what you had been thinking.
    Feeling like a loser because you're the last person on Android.
    Feeling like Armageddon is coming but then you look out the window...

    And so on. This can go on forever. Funny read. :)

    • Justin Pot
      April 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      That first one is really common, our thoughts aren't nearly as original as we'd like to think.

  3. Jill
    April 24, 2015 at 2:30 am

    What about "nannynetting" for 1, as in "I'm nannynetting over that response; I may not be able to stop myself from replying..."

    For 3, maybe "webwarped," as in "Webwarped again! I didn't take my phone to the gents/ladies!"

  4. Matthew
    April 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I've got one for you ... spamsick (which will make somewhat less sense when fiwomex's comment is inevitably removed)

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      And now I've removed it.

  5. Anonymous
    April 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Check with the French to see if they have words for these things already. After all, they made up deja vu, jamais vu, presque vu, and l'esprit de l'escalier.

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Maybe some language do have words for these things already, I'd love it if someone pointed this out.

  6. Sam Park
    April 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Could number two be the word Wanderlust

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      That could fit, but I think we might need something a little more unique. Hmm.

  7. Jill
    April 22, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I just thought of another one. When my addiction to the web has got me fed up with itty bitty increments of info, I'm "Googlutted."

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Not bad! I think Google might dislike you turning their brand into a word, but who cares?

    • Elaine
      April 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      I love Googlutted!!

  8. Jill
    April 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I keep wanting to define the phenomenon rather than the feeling, but "internotted" could work for 1 or 3. The problem in 1 is a "weblunder." For 2, I feel conflicted or "factitious" about such things. What about "tweetlost" for number 3. Frankly, I don't think any of there are all that good. You young folks who've grown up with all this will have better ideas. Happy noncing!

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      It's a starting point, let's see if someone comes up with anything better!

  9. Elaine
    April 22, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    OMG I am literally chuckling to myself as I finish your post! too too funny, mostly because i see myself and can laugh at me!

    for #1 I think its a case of Me-ighteousness

    well written and i know there are definitely more words we could come up with for online specific situations that really highlight our flaws!

    I would like a word ( so i can stop using the F word) for all the browser crashes that make things Annoying!

    • Justin Pot
      April 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Glad I could give you a laugh, and thanks for taking the time to read all that. :)

  10. Michael J. Tobias
    April 22, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Hey look, words.

  11. dragonmouth
    April 22, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    These things are problematic only to those for whom Internet validates everything.

    1. The word is PEDANTRY.

    2. When the government spends, or used to spend, $600 on a toilet seat or $120 on a hammer, $751 for jar of peanut butter is par for the course. Google "The Golden Fleece Awards"

    3. Even goldfish have a longer attention span than twits on Twitter.