Introduction

As we’ve done for the last several years, Cramer-Krasselt proudly presents a compilation of new terms that have either made it into the mainstream dialogue of today or reflect noteworthy trends, behaviors and cultural happenings.

The backdrop for the Cultural Dictionary 4.0 is a time of intensity. Due to ever-expanding social media options and a 24-hour news cycle, we are constantly bombarded with content. Every story is sensationalized for ratings and made to be more pivotal than the last. News happenings and events are made to be bigger, better, badder or faster than their predecessors. With high demand from viewers, content is being pushed out more and more quickly—to the point that just scanning headlines is the only way to keep up. As soon as Hurricane Sandy is over, we get Thunder Snow…and it goes on.

But actual events and milestones are happening more quickly. In fact, almost 70,000 local heat records [LG1] were set this past year, and many extreme weather records broken in 2011 were broken again in 2012 and 2013. When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We have a 100-year flood every two years now,” his observation extended beyond the weather. School shootings occur more and more frequently, with each new tragedy predicted to be the tipping point for changes in policies. Our heroes are disappointing us almost weekly. As one Olympic athlete admits to doping and lying, another is charged with murder. Highly decorated CIA directors are caught up in personal controversies. Even the voice of Elmo isn’t immune to scandal. The question isn’t, “When will it stop?”, but “Will it ever slow down?”

Our world is getting even smaller, and boundaries are blurring across categories, genders, geography and ages. We’re co-working next to strangers instead of working at home, and taking online classes with students on other continents. We’re provoking celebrities on Twitter, and critiquing their breakfasts on Instagram. Men are submitting to BOTOX, Baby Boomers are returning to school, employees are unleashing their dogs at work and everyone works on vacation.

Speaking of vacation, who knew travel agents would see a turnaround in business after the Internet nearly rendered them extinct? In this era of anxiety, innovation and “YOLO,” we want everything the way we want it, when we want it. Personalization and customization are the new normal, adding to the intensity of it all. Combine 10 different kinds of soda from one vending machine. Choose from a menu of pillows at your hotel. Mix and match everything from travel plans and workout regimes to deliveries of clothes and beauty product samples, and then share all of these choices through as many social networks as possible.

Whether we like it or not, this era of intensity is forcing change and creating momentum that is propelling us forward. We, too, hope to propel you forward with new words and terms. It won’t just stop here. Stay tuned for constant updates to the Cultural Dictionary on our website and Pinterest page. (Include links)