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If It Looks Like a Duck…


July 16, 2012

In The New York Times, Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan suggest that nomenclature counts when it comes to devices. Discussing the sophistication of smartphones’ tracking abilities and the uses of the data gleaned from them, Maass and Rajagopalan say, “Let’s stop calling them phones.” This is not a semantic game, the authors say. “Names matter, quite a bit. In politics and advertising, framing is regarded as essential because what you call something influences what you think about it.” So, what should we call our phones? The authors suggest “trackers,” saying, “It’s a neutral term, because it covers positive activities…and problematic ones.”
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