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by Nadia Piet & Ocean Conijn


funded by Stimuleringsfonds
Creatieve Industrie

dictonary of
Digital
dictionary of
Digital
Prologue
Dictionary of Digital is a design research This booklet contains a dictionary of the
project looking to expand our emotional words that were created from the
awareness towards digital technologies by discussions, and a how-to guide on how to
reflecting on, mapping, and creating new facilitate your own process of reflecting
vocabularies to articulate our shared and neologizing.

personal experiences.

The project is a collaboration between


Seeking to challenge the notion that Ocean Conijn and Nadia Piet; both design
technology is merely functional, cold or researchers that bonded over a shared
adversarial, it invites people to fascination with digital culture,
acknowledge, examine, and discuss their technology, subjectivity, and the role of
deeply personal and emotional language in mediating experience.

relationships with digital technologies.


The creation of words is employed as a It was granted support and made possible
design tool to open up honest dialogue, by the Digital Culture department of
capture meaningful observations, and Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industrie.
encourage the creative use of language.
Table of content

5
Dictionary first
edition

13
Emotion wheel

27
Neologizing
strategies

38
Reflecting on
technology

42
Final notes
The importance
of language
The Inuit have 20+ words for snow, and the We love the word uncanny valley - which
British over 100 for rain. Vocabularies Wikipedia describes as "a hypothesized
expand over time to capture the nuances of relationship between the degree of an
our everyday experiences and environment. object's resemblance to a human being and
While in recent years we've adopted terms the emotional response to such an object".

like deepfakes, filter bubbles, and


plandids to articulate emerging phenomena.

Where most neologisms focus on observable


behavior and objects, this term refers to
The availability of meaningful language the emotional response of the individual,
around digital technologies seems to lag. rather than the thing itself.

Our current vocabulary around technology


is limited and, like the technology We are better able to recognize,
itself, centered around objectivity, communicate, and examine both individually
functionality, and efficiency, steering our and collectively the ways technology is
understanding of it in the same direction. shaping our inner and outer worlds when we
Few terms exist to acknowledge and have words available.
articulate the deeply personal, emotional,
and complex relationships we have with
digital technology.

When do we
need new words
Untranslatable words are words describing Steph Smith captures this in the following
am experience or phenomenon that only figure concluding that "this means that
exist in one language. For example the with untranslatables, we very likely
Japanese age-otori which means to look experiencing a distinctive feature of a
worse after a haircut, the Rukwangali word culture".

Hanyauku refering to the act of walking on


tiptoes across warm sand, or the Spanish To extend our vocabulary in a meaningful
Sobremesa coining a term to describe the way, we seek to surface those experiences
moment after eating a meal when the food that are indeed shared and frequent, but
is gone but the conversation is still unspoken or unnamed.

flowing at the table.

To bring new words into being, the


experience they refer to needs to occur
frequently, be shared across different
people, and be significant enough to
mention.

Dictionary
first edition
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O
P
Q
Algoploy Ambisisive P
Q
R ~noun /ˈælɡəplɔɪ/ ~noun /ˈæmbisaɪsɪv/ R
S S
T T
Actions you take to intentionaly Scroling trough an online platform and
U influence, train or steer an algorithm. not being able to make up your mind on U
V where to start because of all the V
W infinite scroll. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A

B B

C C

D D

E E

F F

G G

H H

I I

J J

K K

L L

M M

N N

O O

Anecdoche Commontech
P P

Q Q

R ~noun /ˈænɪkduːʃ/ ~noun /ˈkɒməntek/ R

S S

T T
A comment threat where everyone is A play on common wealth. The idea that
U U
posting a comment, but nobody is tech is meaningless unless you use it
V
V reading the convo. to raise the living standards of
W others. W

X X

Y Y

Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M
N
Computational M
N
O
crutches O

Copycorp
P P
Q ~noun /ˌkɒmpjʊˈteɪʃ(ə)nəl Q
R krʌtʃes/ ~noun /ˈkɒpikɔː(r)p/ R
S S
T T
Outsourcing cognitive functions and Companies that blatently copy
U U
relying on your technology for certain features, ideas, or designs from
V V
tasks. others.
W W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N

Digital voyeurism
O O

Data anticipation
P P
Q ~noun /ˈdɪdʒɪt(ə)l Q
R ~noun /ˈdeɪtə ænˌtɪsɪˈpeɪʃ(ə)n/ vwaɪˈɜː(r)ɪz(ə)m/ R
S S
T T
Prediction-induced (un)certainty about That weird 'invasive' feeling when
U U
about what will happen based on you're reading or seeing something on
V V
personal data. someone else's device and are aware of
W how personal its contents are. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O Discussion O

dashing Ellipsepation
P P
Q Q
R
~verb /dɪˈskʌʃ(ə) dæʃɪŋ/ ~noun /ɪˈlɪpsɪˈpeɪʃ(ə)n/ R
S S
T T
Resolving quickly a discussion, Waiting for someone to hit enter when
U U
conversation, or disagreement by you see them 'typing...'
V V
immediately grabbing your phone for
W W
Google or chat history.
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O
Hood-collar worker O

Expos-ad
P P
Q ~noun /hʊd-kɒlə(r) Q
R
~noun /ɪkˈspəʊz-æd/ wɜː(r)kə(r)/ R
S S
T T
Feeling ‘busted’ when a friend sees A play on white/blue/new-collar
U U
a you get an ad that indicates a categorization of professionals -
V V
private or embarrassing interest. Refering to the new tech elite with
W (programming) skills so scarce they W
X can afford to show up to work any way X
Y they want - mostly hoodies. Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N
O
Inverse uncanny N
O
P
Q
valley Luck of the pull
P
Q
R /ˌɪnˈvɜː(r)s ʌnˈkæni ˈvæli/ /lʌk əv ðiː pʊl/ R
S S
T T
Seeing yourself reflected through the A play on the "luck of the draw"
U U
eyes of an algorithm or data. effect in gambling, when you refresh
V V
your feed by pulling down to see new
W results. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Memeality No-tificurge
P P
Q Q
R
~noun /ˈmiːmæləti/ ~noun /ˈnəʊtɪfɪcɜː(r)dʒ/ R
S S
T T
Getting a better understanding of an Zero notification urge the fight the
U U
experience after seeing a funny meme existence of the red dots.
V V
that gives you some much needed
W W
perspective.
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Omnicognito Outbored
P P
Q Q
R
~noun /ɒmnɪkɒɡˈniːtəʊ/ ~verb /aʊtbɔː(r)d/ R
S S
T T
Opposite of incognito. A compulsive The feeling that you can no longer be
U U
urge to share and be seen in bored because you have access to
V V
everything you're doing and everything infinite content.
W W
you are.
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Phantom reply Phone flip


P P
Q Q
R
~noun /ˈfæntəm rɪˈplaɪ/ ~noun /fəʊn flɪp/ R
S S
T T
When you thought you replied but you That satisfaction or self-liberating
U U
only replied in your head. feeling you get from flipping your
V V
phone with it's screen down after
W receiving a call or notifications. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
How to: make
new words
Reflect to neologiz
Exploring the experience
Neologize

Step 1: Prompted
reflection
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O Phygital O

dissonance Poasting
P P
Q Q
R
~noun /ˈfɪʒɪt(ə)l ˈdɪsənəns/ ~verb /ˈpəʊstɪŋ/ R
S S
T T
Our cognitive functions glitching Posts of people sharing achievements
U U
between dynamics of digital and and 'wins' on social media, leaving us
V V
physical interfaces. with a distorted view of other
W people's life. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Samephobia Schadenscrolling
P P
Q Q
R
~noun /seɪmfəʊbiə/ ~verb /ˈʃɑːd(ə)nskrəʊlŋ/ R
S S
T T
The fear of being an instagram cliché. Feed-mediated schadenfreude where you
U U
keep scrolling down on someone's feed
V V
in the hope of seeing a previous and
W less perfect version of said person. W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Screenshaming Shallow learning


P P
Q Q
R
~verb /skriːnʃeɪmlŋ/ ~noun /ˈʃæləʊ ˈlɜː(r)nɪŋ/ R
S S
T T
Shaming yourself or others for the When a product that promises powerful
U U
amount of time spent online. AI features fails miserably.
V V
W W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

SIMsurance Spatial ignorance


P P
Q Q
R
~noun /ˈsɪmʃʊərəns/ ~noun /ˈspeɪʃ(ə)l ɪɡnərəns/ R
S S
T T
The feeling of safety and comfort you Never learning the route because you
U U
get from having a SIM with data (e.g. keep putting directions on Google
V V
when abroad). Maps.
W W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Tab hoarding Twilight cart


P P
Q Q
R
~noun /tæbhɔː(r)dɪŋ/ ~noun /twaɪˌlaɪt kɑː(r)t/ R
S S
T T
Working through those infinite tabs you When you're on your phone right before
U U
openened for 'later reading'. you fall asleep and order things or
V V
send messages not fully conscious.
W W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
L L
M M
N N
O O

Voiceletter Window effect


P P
Q Q
R
~noun /vɔɪsletə(r)/ ~noun /wɪndəʊ ɪˈfekt/ R
S S
T T
A very lengthy voicenote. When you open an app or tab and forget
U U
what you came there to do. Digital
V V
equivalant of the doorway effect.
W W
X X
Y Y
Z Z
How to: make
new words
Reflect to neologiz
Exploring the experience
Neologize
Step 1. Reflect
to neologize
Within the project, the act of reflection, Over the next few pages we'll share a
dialogue, and neologization feed into one how-to so you can go through this process
another. The making up of words is used as a yourself. While they are written as
design tool to instigate critical reflection instructions for doing this in a duo or
and open discussions. It invites you to group setting, you can also interpret them
reflect on your experiences on a deeper level, as an individual exercise.

and share with others what might feel as


confessions about your otherwise private The goal of step 1 is to collect
experiences with and of technology. Providing experiences. We use four lenses for
prompts and a goal offers a structure for starting this reflection, which can be used
these insights and conversations to unfold, separately or in combination. When
where process matters as much, if not more, answering the prompts, please describe in
than the outcome.

a few sentences a specific event (rather


than general statements) from a
We highly encourage you to give it a go first-person perspective, focussing on the
yourself. You'll be flexing your way you experienced it rather than the
self-reflective muscles, opening up about happening itself.
awkward digital habits, and hopefully walk
away with novel perspectives, a few giggles,
and new words you generated.
1.1 Emotion wheel
To shift our focus from objects and Instructions:

interfaces to experiences, we can draw on Starting from the inner ring, pick a
emotion theory. The psychologist Robert random emotion and ask where this shows up
Plutchik created an Emotion Wheel with in your digital life. Reflect and write
eight basic emotions (anger, anticipation, your answers. Repeat the process for the
disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise) middle ring, and ultimately the outer
which we can use this to provide a ring. Feel free to swap out the Emotion
foundation for our collective emotional Wheel for any other emotion theory that
vocabulary. Over time, many versions of resonates.

this wheel evolved.

On the next page you'll find an illustrated


Emotion Wheel of the version we used by
Geoffrey Roberts. The basic emotions
seated on the inner ring and as you moved
outward the sentiments become increasingly
subtle and specific.

1.2 Working with


themes
Another way to open up the scope of your Instructions:

reflections is by looking at different life Using these themes as prompts, ask:

themes.

How do digital technologies influence my


experiences in this space?

We used the following list of themes:


What role does technology play in my
1. Body, the Senses & Materiality relation to it?

2. Safety, Security & Stability ️

3. Creativity, Play & Expression You can either work through the list
4. Work, Learning & Mastery sequentially as the themes get
5. Mental Health, Emotions & the Self increasingly more personal and abstract.
6. Relationships, Love & Communication You can also pick one randomly or that
7. Culture, Identity & Community speaks to you, and start there. Reflect and
8. Spirituality, Intuition & Nature write your answers.

You could use the list above, the Maslov


pyramid, chakras, or any other framework
you find meaningful that touches on the
different areas of life.
1.3 Starting with
channels
Another way to invite reflection is by Intructions:

zooming in on the different channels, Using your list of channels, ask:

interfaces, services, and platforms where What experiences do I have with this
these experiences play out.

channel that are unique or typical to it?

How does this channel mediate my


We used the following list of channels:
experience differently than others?

Devices - Smartphone, laptop, smartwatch,


Internet of Things, smart speaker, Reflect and write your answers.

wearables, tablet, analog, mechanic +


electrical devices

The list should be personalized because it


depends on the channels you interact with
Application - Dating, finance, health, so we recommend creating your own or
games, productivity, notes, food, maps, adding to the one above.
news, entertainment, photo/video, email,
work, creative

Communication - Whatsapp, videocall,


Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin,
TikTok, Snapchat
1.4 Promptless
or free flow
Once you get into it, you won't always
need prompts. You might remember
experiences from memory. By bringing more
awareness to your experience as you're
interacting with digital technologies,
you'll start noticing more and pick up on
interesting phenomena as you go.

If you find someone else that's open to


continue exploring, share these
observations with eachother as you go.
This is what we do :)
Step 2.Exploring
the experiences
If you've made it through step 1, you will Here are some questions you can ask:

have a lot of material and insights to How does that feel?

work with here. In step 2, we will share, Can you give me an example?

discuss, and poke at our stories together. Can you elaborate a bit?

To do this, we use a method called What effect does that have?

Socratic questioning. If you're familiar, Is this different offline?

get right to it. If not, we'll elaborate Is that always the case?

below.

Is it like that for everyone?

What consequences does this have?

Socratic questioning is a form of How does this relate to ___?

disciplined questioning that can be used Is there an alternative?

to pursue thought in many directions and Does this or a similar experience show up
for example to explore complex ideas, to elsewhere?

get to the truth of things, and to open up Why do you think this happens?

issues and problems.

After unpacking and gaining a deeper


It's best practiced in duos, where one understanding of the experiences, you
asks and the other answers, but can also probably have a sense of which experiences
be done individually or in a small group. are interesting, shared, and significant
enough to create words for.

Step 3. Neologize

Now it's time for step 3, making the words


for your experiences. Here some practical
tips and strategies to start with
neologizing.

Approach it like a brainstorm so quantity


first, quality later. You can create a mind
map, take out your sticky notes, be
creative.

Associations of words will help you out


here. Different words have different
nuances so having a bunch of words in the
area of exploration is a nice start. Use
thesaurus to find words that are not
directly in your personal lexicon.

Last general tip, keep talking and


discussing the meaning of the word and if
it's the nuance you're looking for.
3.1 Nine strategies
for neologizing

1. Derivation 
 2. Conversion of word class 



Adding prefixes or suffixes to the word. Adding prefixes or suffixes to the word. For
Like our word Omnicognito a play on example making from Google an adjective a
incognito. We took te prefix in and verb; googling.

replaced it with omni.


Tip: Try switching between adjective, 

noun & verb.
Pre-fix Word Suf-fix

an affix which is an affix which is Google > Googling


placed before the placed after the
stem of a word stem of a word

3. Compounding 

Tip: Google common prefixes and suffices. Here you merge 2 words or parts of these
words to create new meaning. For example
Voiceletter or voicenote.

Voice + Note
4. Repurposing 
 6. Abbreviations 

Making a new word with a refrence to the Here we have two variations: acronyms
context or symbolic meaning. A good eample and clipping. Ancronyms take the first
of this is the word Computer mouse. We letters of words to form a new word.
take something we know a mouse and add it PC is one of these words, personal
to a device that has a similair “look” computer. Clippings are shortend words
with the shape and cable.

so Phone instead of telephone.

Tip: Look at nature or try to add words to P ersonal


your mindmap that look or feel similair.

C omputer

5. Emponyms

Words named after a person or place.
7. Loan words
 9. Nonce words

Borrowing words or parts of words from Words pulled out of thin air that
other languages.

have no apparent meaning.

Tip: If you’re bi-(or tri-)lingual, use Tip: Ask help from a 7-year old.
that to your adventage. If you’re not,
there’s always Google translate.

8. Onomatopeia 

These words are based on the sound that
they make or the sound it describes.

Tip: Does it make a recognisable sound?


Closing notes
We'd love to hear from you! If Big thanks for making this possible:


you gave the process a try or
found any new strategies. If you Betty van Dongen for helping us with
read a word in the dictionary data processing, analysis, and mapping.

that gave new meaning to your


experience. If you made up a Erik Peters, Tom de Swart, Yota Chatzi,
cool word that you'd like to Mathilde Zamour, Vincent Damen, Joanne
share.

Koeleman, Dave Kellas for participating


in our experiments.

Share with us on Instagram


@dictionaryofdigital All people that joined trough emails.

Stimuleringsfonds Creative Industrie


for funding.