Gesture Motion (finger swipe or finger slide or finger motion) – Whatever it is that you call the motion you do to use your iphone, droid or ipad. It has become the most ubiquitous finger related cultural item since “giving people the finger” was popularized by Aristophanes and Boston cab drivers. Even a year ago only a tiny portion of the population would have recognized it, now it’s a universally recognized gesture.
Human Intelligence Tasks – You know those back office tasks that you think are done by computer, the things that make google translate work or allow spammers to spam sites or let Amazon to track your preferences, turns out they aren’t done by computers. They are HITs , and are the result of activities farmed out to individuals solving problems one by one in developing countries around the world. For example, an English speaker in India rates hundreds and hundreds of translations on degree of accuracy for translation programs which become iteratively better with each correction. For this they are paid fractions of a penny per task. In case you thought the Matrix was fiction.
Slacktivism plus Slackivation – Slacktivism, or easily completed online activism that has virtually no political or social impact, has been around for awhile. This year though something interesting started happening, first slacktivism went wide with that whole bra color thing back in January but more importantly people are learning to “Slacktivate” the masses to actually do some things from time to time. These things confuse and frighten the media, can create large-scale disruption, but despite making a huge splash are of questionable impact (Examples: the Stewart/Colbert rally, The Wikileaks revenge attacks, even the Tea Partiers). This is just the beginning of a broader trend because someone, somewhere is trying to figure out how to make this electronically linked mob work for them.
East Coast Muppets Behaving Badly – Who saw this coming, I mean we all knew that the Muppet show crowd could get wild, but 2010 was the year east coast Muppets put the Street back in Sesame Street. Cookie monster basically went into politics, Grover’s Sex appeal, Elmo had a breakdown on camera, and poor Katy Perry apparently once you go plush you never go back (but come on Katy, Moe , Really?) and this is just dirty. Next year it’s the teletubbies go to Ibiza with Robbie Williams.