My family likes words. We work and we play with them. We write and edit at work, and do crosswords and play Scrabble at home.
Our family is known for having rather sharp elbows when it comes to our gaming style. In Scrabble especially, we allow (encourage?) leeway to argue for one’s word entry. Can you convince fellow gamers of the legitimacy of your slang? Is the Euro-spelling of colour allowable? Is the Latin form of an English word? How about dis and app – are they partial words – or real words so new that most dictionaries don’t yet include them?
To help settle these debates, and limit bloodshed, we consult the dictionary – a lot. Or at least we used to. It was over this last holiday season, with family fiercely examining their tiles, that I noticed something new had crept into our lives – and I’m guessing it has into yours too.
We have a very large, leather-bound dictionary that we’ve used for years. I can’t begin to count the times we’ve all paged through it looking for a gem. But this year, no one used it. Competitors were armed with their own arsenal of word tools. At the first sign of a challenge, out came the notebooks and handhelds. The Official Scrabble website, Merriam-Webster Online, Dictionary roll-ups, even Google itself, were all brought to bear on reaching a decision.
Which brings me to my point here – finally. When was the last time you actually opened those resource books on your office shelf? Especially that cumbersome trade show directory you lugged back from the conference last fall. It’s the one with all the exhibitors that came to your industry’s annual event. Remember, you were going to refer to it regularly over the year. Have you? Or have you made fresh searches online? Or gone back to the event’s website?
If you are a show organizer agonizing over how to cut costs, or how to go green, or add value to your attendees and to your exhibitors, 2010 might be the year to say goodbye to the printed show directory and deliver it all online. Can you wait any longer to go digital? Your attendees and your exhibitors are online – are you?
As much as I miss the substantial heft, the tactile feel – even the bookish smell of our old Dictionary – I just don’t see us going back to those days – unless the power goes out and the candles get lit.
BTW – I have a seven-letter-word I want to play: D I G I T A L
What’s your entry for a game-winning strategy for the new year?
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