Grooming and talking

Posted by on Jan 12, 2008 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Johnnie picks up the theme of how much of our conversations are about “the thing” we’re discussing and how much are about the participants in the conversation and how they are relative to each other.

More the latter than the former, Id’ say (as would most primatologists, I guess).

Which is why the language debate I seem to have started is important:

Our language is more about things and separateness and one thing doing something to another than it is about relationships between things.

It codes this in even when we talk about “relationships” – we make that a big old stocky noun rather than a verb (like say “relationing” maybe?)

A similar linguistic distortion helps misshape our thinking (or maybe reinfroces the pre-existing distortion in our thinking) about human networks. We make them sound like things: like wires, pinned to a board and this leads us to buy all kinds of ludicrous notions (like the ‘super-influencer’ idea that barely reconstituted comms folk have to sell us their media on the back of).

No, the truth is that human connections are fluid and constantly so. Maybe we ought to talk about them as continuous present nouns like networkings?

Me, I’m all for the rise of the “ing” suffix on nouns. Are you?


  1. John Dumbrille
    January 12, 2008

    Cool. Makes me think thats why its awkward going on about web 2.0. Cause the web is not a static thing.
    I web you web, we all web… we are web-ing.
    Buddhism has this useful term, “mutually conditioned existence,” seems to beat our language.

  2. mark Earls
    January 12, 2008

    Good stuff, John.
    Quite agree on the Web point and think the buddhist perspective is useful here.

  3. John Dodds
    January 13, 2008

    Relating not relationing please – there are too many made-up words queering the marketing pitch (no pun intended) already.