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Summary:

We are (obviously) fond of the term “web worker” to describe the WWD audience. But there are other terms that get thrown around a lot: “digital bedouin” is popular among the cutting-edge set, “telecommuter” seems to be the darling of the mainstream media, while “teleworker” gets […]

We are (obviously) fond of the term “web worker” to describe the WWD audience. But there are other terms that get thrown around a lot: “digital bedouin” is popular among the cutting-edge set, “telecommuter” seems to be the darling of the mainstream media, while “teleworker” gets heard in government circles. But as the folks over at Plantronics point out in launching their TeleWho? contest:

It’s 1973 — Elvis has popularized the sequin jumpsuit, the country is embroiled in Watergate, and the term “telecommuter” is first coined.

No doubt because it’s not catchy enough for advertising, the Plantronics folks want to replace “telecommuter” with some other term for “today’s always-connected-but-not-always-in-the-office worker.” Actually, they want you to come up with it for them.

The entry form is simple: contact info, your new term, and an explanation. The prizes include $1700 worth of home audio gear and Calisto Pro phones, which we called “the web worker’s dream phone” last year. So winning won’t make you rich, but five minutes of work with the right idea might get you a nice new bit of gear.

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By Mike Gunderloy
  1. “Please do not proceed if you are not a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States or DC”

    Yeah well… there you go… And i had just the best word ever! :)

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  2. So they get the credit for coining the new “it” web worker buzzword, and the winner gets less than two grand worth of gear?

    Makes me glad that I can’t enter anyways.

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  3. Ok, read up, people, because I’m about to make up another word and I hope this time it catches, not like the other words I’ve made up over the years and that nobody ever uses.

    I’m going to say we should be called “ether crafters”.

    I was also thinking about “ethilic flunkies” but could be misinterpreted.

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  4. If you’re “always-connected-but-not-always-in-the-office worker” you’re a slave.

    I gave that up for ‘web working’ because – in my mind at least – that phrase implies some independence. You choose when and where you work, versus always being at work/on call.

    The end result might be the same, long hours. But it’s a different mentality.

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  5. Something ironic – factory workers work in factories; office workers work in offices/office buildings; construction workers work on construction sites.

    Social convention (now and in the past) has been a primary reason for centralized offices. Cheap and improved office technologies have enabled some of this exodus to the home; however, most of my independent work doesn’t require an internet at all. (I write and teach, mostly for local organizations.)

    Why do those of us who work in our heads outside of an office require a special name at all? Aren’t office workers really just a subset of knowledge workers?

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  6. Crikey, I hate terms like “digital bedouin”. Talk about here today, gone tomorrow.

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  7. I’m a finalist!!! I just got an email from them that my term…”NetWorker” is in the top 10!!! I know it’s not the most original term, but I think my reasoning behind the choice is what won them over. Thank you WWD for posting this contest! Also, everyone please go vote for “NetWorker” every day for the next week or so. :-) I’ll post a link about the contest and my gratitude to WWD on my blog later today. Thanks again!

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