Buzzwords on their way to a tipping-point: A view from the blogosphere



“Buzzwords” are new words (i.e., neologisms) that enter the language and acquire great popularity as “fashion words.” To date, the dynamic aspect of buzzwords has not been the subject of a rigorous scientific analysis. In this study, we analyzed the appearance of buzzwords in the blogosphere and compared their dynamics to the one of nonpopular neologisms and well-established words. It was found that the growth rate of buzzwords is exponential and higher than that of the blogosphere. Moreover, we have identified general early warning signals for an approaching tipping point in the dynamics of buzzwords indicating that as fashion words they are on their way to a tipping-point of decline. The article presents these findings and others and concludes by presenting a model for studying the dynamics of new words entering the language. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity 16: 58-68, 2011