The Etymology of Instagram

While writing about social media yesterday, a thought occurred: what’s the etymology of the name Instagram? The Insta- part seemed pretty obvious, but I was curious about the –gram part. Luckily, when you want to find out about the etymology of the names of social media, you don’t have to do too much digging…

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The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

I mentioned this effect a while back, when writing about our tendency to find patterns and meaning in randomness. The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is when we learn some new information, often a new word, and seem to see it everywhere afterwards. I was thinking about this recently when I wrote about words I don’t know. I knew that I’d start to see some of the words I was reading for the first time, and sure enough, a few weeks ago, I came across the word ithyphallic while reading Foucault’s Pendelum. Given the specificy of its meaning, I hadn’t expected to see it often, though it did make sense in the context of the book.

The term, Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, is a somewhat unusual one.

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