HR Strange But True!
January 10, 2008

No, a Googlegänger isn't a member of a new group you must accommodate or the carrier of a strange computer virus. It's a person who has the same name as someone you are searching for or "Googling" on the Internet. And it's one of 2007's "Words of the Year" from the American Dialect Society, which has singled out many HR-related words in the past.

You should beware of Googlegängers if you research applicants online or on "Facebook," another word cited by the American Dialect Society ( this year. A play on the word "doppelgänger," meaning someone's double or namesake (especially in the paranormal sense), info found about a Googlegänger could prejudice you--fairly or unfairly--towards an applicant with a similar name.

Winning the "Most Creative" designation and created by, this word, along with "human terrain," winning "Most Euphemistic, and "green," a double winner for "Most Useful" and "Most Likely to Succeed," lost out to "Subprime," describing a risky loan, as "Word of the Year." While Subprime has been in the lexicon for sometime, the 80 voting members of the Society considered the word the one most affecting American society be cause of the mortgage crisis.

Winner of the "Most Unnecessary" word of 2007 was "Kwanhanamas," a combination of Kwanza , Hanukkah, and Christmas coined to replace the word "holidays" in a generic December greeting.

Other HR-related words that were considered, but did not win, included "bacn"--impersonal email such as automated reminders that can be as annoying as "spam," and "connectile disfunction" or the inability to gain or maintain a personal connection.

Past winners with an HR connotation include "grup"--a Gen Xer who doesn't act his or her age, "phish"--inducing someone to reveal private information by a deceptive email, "truthiness"--what one considers the truth regardless of the facts, "multislacking"--playing at a computer when the person should be working, "prarie dogging"--popping one's head above an office cubicle in curiosity, and "badly sourced"--a great euphemism for "false."

Source: American Dialect Society

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