In My Walking Shoes: Walk Kansas 7, No Hacks

A New Buzz Word

After recently being inundated with e-mails and promotional material promising “hacks” on everything from the Bible to book marketing to nutrition, I thought using it in my heading, even if only to indicate I didn’t have any, might rouse someone’s interest.

Frankly, the sudden popularity of the word puzzles me. Just what are these folks who are sprinkling “hacks” in headings and descriptions like sugar on cereal promising me? I began checking my usual definition sources, including a thesaurus, a dictionary, and my past experiences with the word.

The Thesaurus

An online thesaurus lists two nouns as main synonyms. The first is drudges. Additional synonyms for this meaning are flunkies and menials. None of these conditions seem appealing. The second main synonym is journalists. Additional synonyms for this meaning are writers, scribblers, and reporters. At first glance, these words are more positive. However, past use of “hacks” when indicating a type of writer comes down to someone who sacrifices quality for quantity, not something I aspire to do.

Synonyms for hacks used as a verb include chops, cuts, and slices. I might chop wood into pieces or hack my way through the jungle with a machete, but I am still lost when it comes to understanding the sudden desirability of “hacks” in e-mail subject lines.

The Dictionary

It took reading the Encarta Dictionary’s fourth definition of hack as gaining “unauthorized access to computer data” for something to snap in my brain. If you hack information, you are getting knowledge most people don’t have. The lure is that this secret information will give you the edge you need to succeed in whatever current mission you are engaged in.

Following the Links

When I followed the nutrition link, I learned the “hacks” I was promised were “simple tips.” They were not secrets, but tips I had read many times before because nutrition is one of my interests. The book marketing hack was about Amazon’s new use of themes in categorizing books. If you are a writer with a book to sell, you may want to check out this information because it is a fairly new. As to the Bible, I haven’t read the guidebook containing the “hacks,” so what they might be is still a mystery to me.

My Walk Kansas Week 7 Stats, No Hacks

During Weeks 7, I managed to walk 160 minutes, which exceeded my 15o-minute goal. I once again flunked fruits (9) and vegetables (17). The goals were 14 cups of fruit and 21 cups of vegetables per week. Since I am underachiever, I have no success tips to impart.

Word Meanings and Usage

Have you noticed a word that has changed meanings or is being overused? Is there a word that annoys you? If so, leave a comment and share your observations about it.

 

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2 Responses to In My Walking Shoes: Walk Kansas 7, No Hacks

  1. Tracy says:

    No complaints, but I love watching words and noting the way they change. With my kids I am reading Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography right now. We have had plenty of discussion over the spellings of common words. This was a very literate man, but he was writing before spellings were standardized, I think. Everything changes — even the way we use words, spell words. I look forward to seeing which words are added to the dictionaries each year. Usually I am already familiar with them; sometimes I am not.

  2. Hazel says:

    It is fascinating to watch how old words change meaning and new words are created. I find myself guilty of using what are probably obsolete terms, such as dialing a number when telephones no longer have dials. Technology is moving so quickly, it is often hard to keep up with the language.

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