Posted by Cognito on Sun, Jan 10 2010

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The Vowel for the Next Decade?

Vowel mouths

The 90s was the decade of "e". Email became ubiquitous, Ebay was founded and E*Trade went public. "e" came to symbolize the first generation internet revolution which drove so much of our lives on to one electronic platform or another. Electronification was so successful and pervasive, in fact, that by the end of the 90s the "e" had become pretty much superfluous. Who in 2005 would announce the launch of an e-store? Come to think of it, how many 18-year-old internet users today realize that the "e" in email actually stands for something?

Thanks to Apple Computer Inc, the 2000s were dominated by the letter "i". Ipod, iHome, iSchools and iShares all entered the lexicon, but, unlike "e", "i" came to have several meanings. "i" stood for information - the ever-growing surfeit of data that we now have to process and manage in our daily lives. But "i" also came to symbolize the growing power of the individual as the internet broke down old media and put greater control than ever in the hands of you and me.

So which of the three remaining vowels will reign supreme in the coming decade? It could be argued that "u" will pick up where "i" left off, reflecting the continuing power of you, the individual to create, publish and share: YouTube as uTube. Or perhaps, with outsourcing continuing to grow, "o" will dominate and we will "o" the lawn where once we mowed it, and our kids will email their "o"mework to be completed in developing countries.

Or, for the first time in twenty years, will we simply be vowel-less? Forced to use plain old words without the zippy prefixes? ifeel, personally, that would be a shame. 

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