Why Paper is the Enemy of Words

February 17, 2009
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If you haven’t heard the sayings that “paper is the enemy of words” or “the internet is made up of words and enthusiasm,” then you haven’t listened to Erin McKean, the former editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, speak.
Take 15 minutes and watch this video, recorded two years ago at the TED conference. If […]


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If you haven’t heard the sayings that “paper is the enemy of words” or “the internet is made up of words and enthusiasm,” then you haven’t listened to Erin McKean, the former editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, speak.

Take 15 minutes and watch this video, recorded two years ago at the TED conference. If you’re like me, the time will pass quick.

I guarantee you’ll smile, maybe chuckle, definitely learn something or two, and perhaps agree with the lexicographical reasoning why the dictionary is changing before your eyes…

If you’re curious why I bring her up, I’d read a Boston Globe article published last week about the wonder of Twitter, saw her name bylined with attribution to her blog, the Dictionary Evangelist–and wondered if Erin tweeted.

Even better, for a Twitter search on her name led me to the TED talk, and that has made all the difference.

Do you agree the dictionary has outlived the book form?


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