The Departures Modern Glossary March 2012

Bendik Kaltenborn

The terms that define us now.


The use of a computer mouse to select an item onscreen.

“Click” entered the English language rather humbly in the late 16th century, but, in the 1980s, after the word came to signify the pressing of the button on a computer mouse, its range of uses began to broaden considerably. There are now variations such as “clickability” (the persuasiveness of an ad promising to show, say, dancing pandas) and “clickthrough rate” (the number of people who then decide, “Yes! I want to see a dancing panda!”).

Digital Native

One who has grown up in the digital age and has an almost innate familiarity with computers and the Internet.

Every generation scoffs at the inability of its forebears to adapt to the modern age. Years ago, Gen Xers bemoaned having to teach baby boomers how to program a VCR. These days, “digital natives” would likely ridicule the rest of us for struggling to rewrite the Perl code on our netbooks—if they ever took a second to look up from their smartphones.


A computer user who assumes a false identity on the Internet with intent to deceive.

Many of us go incognito online, but “sockpuppets” are the subset who assume pseudonyms for less than noble motives, like secretly promoting their own companies or political candidacies. Lately, the pro-versus-con debate surrounding Internet anonymity has been heating up; these contretemps, called the “Nymwars,” erupted following the decision by the social network Google+ to require the use of real names.


An independent professional; one who has started his or her own business, usually without taking on additional employees.

“Solopreneur” originated at the end of the 20th century but has recently taken on increased visibility, as economic vagaries have necessitated greater occupational flexibility. The word, along with its neologistic cousins “homepreneur” and “micropreneur,” is modeled on “entrepreneur,” a French term that, in fact, originally referred to the director of a musical institution.


A conspicuous or attractive link that entices users to click on it.

Amid all the visual clutter that has come to afflict many websites these days, there is an increased need for something to entice browsers into following a link—hence, the rather self-explanatory “linkbait.” While it might seem that a term whose closest cognates are “jailbait” and “shark bait” would have difficulty catching on, “linkbait” has become one of the buzzwords of the SEO (search engine optimization) field.