Hard News by Russell Brown


Public Address Word of the Year 2013: Metadata

The Public Address Word of the Year 2013 is "metadata".

Around 600 Public Address readers have made their choices from a long list generated in an open discussion on the website. Publisher of Public Address Russell Brown says the voting was rapid and intense this year.

"We came out the the discussion phase with a list of words that summed up a lot about the year.

"The winning word is particularly significant, because it encompasses some of the most important questions of the year: what kinds of information are our intelligence agencies collection about us, how and why?

"Metadata is the little noise of our lives -- it's not what we say, but it's who we say it to, when we say it, and how often. And, increasingly where we go and how we assemble. In sum, it is extraordinarily revealing, and yet, it has been regarded as not our private information. The Prime Minister guarantees this year's GCSB legislation doesn't allow warrantless surveillance of metadata. The legislation itself is less reassuring.

"And even then, metadata is, and will continue to be, collected on a mass scale by the US national Security Agency. What does the NSA collect about New Zealanders? What might our own agencies have access to without the bother of actually spying? It's unclear, and we should care about that."

The second-placed word is, Brown says, "an abomination -- a profane neologism promoted by mad social media scientist Vaughn Davis. Had Davis's completely unethical plan succeeded and the word won, what coud I have said to Geoff Robinson? So awkward. That said, 'fuckstrating' is a bloody cracker of a word."

Narrowly beaten out by "fuckstrating" was the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year, "selfie".

"Honestly, who cares?" Brown noted. "My only selfie of the year was with Matthew Hooton! So that's how my year went. Get off my fucking lawn."

In fourth place was another new word, "beersies," which, like 2011's bronze medal-winner, "ghost chips", is the takeaway buzzword from a public health advertising campaign.

"That'll be another long lunch for some agency creative department, won't it?" observed Brown. "Bastards. When journalists are starving in the streets,  It's Not Okay. Unless it's at Prego and I'm not paying. Outside at Prego."

Also in the Top 10 was "Lorde".

"So over Lorde," Brown reflected. "I saw her at the pub this week and she totally blanked me. That said, Busy Signal's fantastic dancehall version on the 'Royals' rhythm has rescued my year and underlined the brave, disruptive nature of the production on the Pure Heroine album, which has shifted the axis of pop music itself."

The tenth and final place was shared by "twerking" and "rape culture".

"Look," acknowledged Brown. "Miley Cyrus is an adult and she can dress -- or not -- as she pleases. That said, 'Wrecking Ball' just sounds like someone taking a shit.

"And rape culture? Yeah, nah, I don't have any jokes about that."

The Public Address words of the Year 2013

1. Metadata

2. Fuckstrating

3. Selfie

4. Beersies

5. Berm

6. Big Gay Rainbow

7. Lorde

8. #twitteraunties

9. Wewege

10=Rape Culture



As promised, there are prizes. As the first reader to propose the winning word, B Jones of Wellington wins a luxury hamper from Nosh Food Market and a $100 voucher from Whisky Galore.

As the lucky voter drawn at random, Sam Meikle of Wellington receives the luxury Nosh hamper.


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