followed = has started following

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Apr 27 14:54:08 UTC 2013

On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 9:44 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> As part of its blogging services, Wordpress notifies bloggers when someone
>> is following their blog. On the e-mail version, there are two formulations:
>> 1. X is now following your blog
>> 2. X just started following you
>> Their app, however, says, "X followed your blog."
>> Given that they have a global work staff, "followed" could have been
>> written by a non-native speaker or it could be a typo, but it's also a
>> reasonable solution to describing the situation.
> On Twitter, there is a "follow" button. To follow is not to make a
> continuous action, but to press the follow button.
> If I pressed the follow button yesterday, I followed someone yesterday.
> Makes sense to me.

Similarly, in the age of Facebook, "like" has shifted from stative to dynamic,
equated with clicking the "like" button. This is why the opposite of
social-media "like" is reversative "unlike" rather than negative "dislike"
(just as the opposite of "follow" is "unfollow") -- these are discrete actions
that can be undone.

and Zimmer, Carson, & Horn, "Among the New Words" (AmSp, Fall 2011, pp. 355-376)


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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