No One Has Heard of Widgets

Loving Widgets Live, but I am beginning to wonder about the term: “widgets.” It’s catchy. I love how it sounds. But listening to Peter Pham, I see why his company, Photobucket, decided to drop the term widget in describing their slideshow product. They were looking for user feedback so they talked to people in Denver and other cities who use the Photobucket service. They talked to 80 people. None of them were familair with the widget term.

But I bet the word widgets is here to stay just like other terms that seem to be crafted in some far off galaxy in the lounge of some hipster space ship flying through the social media space. Podcast, blog, widgets all have a pop media sound. Widgets is the only term that has been around for some time. From Wikipedia:

The earliest known occurrence of the word “widget” is in Beggar on Horseback (1924), a comedy play written by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. The hero of this play is a struggling composer who must choose between creating music that stimulates his soul (but earns no money) or earning a living by accepting a soul-deadening job in a factory that makes “widgets”. The text of the play intentionally refrains from revealing what “widgets” are; clearly, they represent any purely mercantile commodity that has no artistic or spiritual value.

Hmmm….Widgets sure have changed. But it raises a question: “Do widgets have any artistic value?” I wonder. Widgets are technologies.  The best ones may be considered works of art. But more so, it’s the art that people create and place in the widgets that is artisitic.  And then I wonder if they are widgets at all and instead slideshows, or some new form of movie, which I am sure will have some new name soon, coming from the lounge of some spaceship flying near you in the space called social media.

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One Response to No One Has Heard of Widgets

  1. Beth says:

    I’m working a piece about widgets and building community in nonprofit spaces.
    I’m curious what your thoughts are:

    http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/widgets/index.html

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