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Trendy Terminology: Bacn

The term refers to e-mail that isn't really wanted but isn't really unwanted.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Despite the obligatory missing vowel, bacn (pronounced "bacon") isn't a hot Web 2.0 start-up. It's "the middle class of e-mail," the stuff that isn't really spam because it's not totally unwanted, but isn't really wanted either. Case in point: Pownce messages, Facebook friend requests, Amazon "recommendations."

Unlike many dorky tech terms, the origins of bacn aren't especially apocryphal; we've got a real (electronic) paper trail. The term arose during a discussion at Podcamp2 Pittsburgh earlier in August and slipped onto my radar via Twitter feeds from friends who were attending that conference--Fearless Cooking video blogger Grace Piper, for example, who clarified that "steak" is e-mail you always want to read. Fellow video blog personality Bill Cammack added that "FakinBacn" would refer to e-mail that's really spam but attempts to gussy itself up in the guise of bacn. Those video podcasters are a clever crowd.

It wasn't until a conversation with digital marketing strategist Rachel Clarke at last night's first-anniversary party for gadget blog CrunchGear when it occurred to me that bacn was deserving of a spot in the lexicon of trendy tech terms. Unfortunately, BuzzFeed had already beaten me to the punch. Ouch.

So what do you think? Will this one make it to the dictionary or will it remain restricted to tongue-in-cheek use in geek circles?