Technicon: towards a cultural semantics of informational terms

The English Faculty’s Literature-Technology-Media research group proposes to develop, in the first instance as a online resource, a lexicon of terminology arising out of or associated with information technologies and social media. This will be a collaborative research project, with each term in the lexicon allocated to an individual or small team. Rather than constituting a complete essay in itself, each entry will remain open for the foreseeable future for correction and supplement, where appropriate. A Notes & Queries function will enable researchers to draw upon the expertise of the group as a whole.

Each entry, in short, will originate as a stub (a term which itself belongs in the Technicon, if only because its contemporary meaning seems to have derived from the obsolete botanical sense of a stock from grafting on, rather than from its more familiar association with the remnants of a cigarette).

Anyone who would be interested in participating in this project is invited to contact Ned Allen (, David Trotter (, or Steve Connor (

What is a ‘Technicon’?
The terminology of IT and social media has become a language as natural as any other. It confronts us at every step of the way as we negotiate the systems and devices that occupy so many of our waking moments, or try to figure out how to do stuff with them, or gaze helplessly at evidence of malfunction. If we happen to want to know what one of these terms actually means, there are of course dictionaries, Wikipedia entries, and a whole range of expository tools, in print and online. If it’s deconstruction we want, we can turn to the excellent Software Studies: A Lexicon, ed. Matthew Fuller (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), or to one of the many recent enquiries into the ramifications of networked communications technology in everyday life.

What none of these resources claims to do is to breathe life back into dead language, so that we return to our systems and devices with an enhanced sense not only of what they do, but also of the rhetoric sedimented in the machine: the writing that helped to bring the technology about, and still colours our attitude towards it, our feelings for it.

Technicon is to a large extent an exercise in the resuscitation of dead metaphor. The aim is to restore to informational jargon something of its richness, as a way to know more both about what we mean when we think and talk informationally in the course of business and pleasure; and about the past, present, and future of the information technologies the jargon services. Some terms reveal the history of the displacement of human by mechanical operation, or of mechanical energy by data-flows. Others were already informational long before they came anywhere near a computer, reminding us that information technologies and social (in the broadest sense) media are age-old. In order to capture these evolutions, a cultural semantics will need to be in addition a cultural pragmatics: a history of what words do, as well as what they mean. And it will need, too, even more so, to be a poetics: a study of figural as well as literal usage. The forms it takes will include both the critical and the creative.

The terms listed below are all terms which had a life of some kind, in whole or in part, before digitalization. Trade names have been excluded.

A Provisional and Selective List of Terms of Interest
Vlog (see Blog)

22 Responses to Technicon

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  2. adam says:

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  5. sigiopt says:

    And who knows where you can read the analysis for the work “The Giver”?

    • Mitra Surik says:

      This is not a problem now. I can share the information that I myself know about this work, but it will be easier to read an essay parsing it into details, where just goes the most detailed and understandable description, then it will be much easier to understand it. You can just look in detail here different written works about it and determine for yourself the key points that interest you. There are reviews of the plot, as well as the whole subtext, which lies in this work. I think they should not have any problems. I hope I have helped.

  6. Hison Ralli Hison says:

    Its cool

  7. Sasaki says:

    I can tell with this of course.I can tell with this of course. I remember having to write an essay just to get into the creative department. They estimated ostensibly my level and my fantasy about writing such essays about weather and nature. But of course it was extremely difficult for me to write and sometimes I even had to address professionals already in the process of study, because these essays were often repeated. I can also tell all the students who will encounter this during their studies at the faculties of creative orientation. You can look here at Pick The Writer , where the details of companies that can write such essays in your place are very detailed. Be sure to study the comments and analytics before choosing a company for yourself, as the quality of the work done may depend on it, hoping that you can help some of the students.

  8. Marilo says:

    I don’t even understand what you mean.

  9. Tif says:

    If I could, of course I would write myself. But it doesn’t work … There is a week left before delivery

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    At the moment I am trying to write with the help of a friend.

  11. Slaren says:

    I would not even write about it, the topic is controversial ..

  12. Tif says:

    I have an essay on a similar topic, but I won’t pull it myself …

  13. Bruno Araujo says:

    I was using this tool for the English Faculty’s Literature-Technology-Media previously. It is pretty good when you need a direction to write on!

  14. Joseph says:

    Things play a different rule when it comes to mainstream media. That’s why did a session about this and let us know about those things which are important for all of us to know.

  15. ArturW90 says:

    That is an interesting article. I have a lot of questions about that but I think that folks at would give a proper answer. Maybe, someone, there could give real expertise on that. What do you think?

  16. Consider adding ‘meme’ to the list, given the importance of digital artefacts creating social connections, “going viral” etc.

    I’m currently working on a personal photographic project, covering digital materiality, and looking at how digital as a new artefact is not a new concept, we have lived with “virtual” for much longer. The images challenge what is real and what is virtual.

    I’m also researching at the IfM looking at innovation under conditions of convergence, where science, technology and partners come from different fields.

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