Something me

look ma, no hands!While walking home from work the other day I passed a group of guys emerging from a pizza joint. After a few handshakes and goodbyes they parted ways and made arrangements for their next meeting. And then one of them yelled across the street, "something me on Thursday." His friend looked a little confused, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. He added, "IM, call, email… I don’t care."

Despite our proximity to MIT, these guys did not strike me as the type who wear t-shirts that say Go away or I’ll replace you with a simple shell script or tote around Leathermans in their utility belts. These were just normal people with too many ways to talk to each other.

I’m guessing that we have reached some saturating point in communication technology where the actual medium itself has become unimportant. When I thought about the expression, "something me," I realized that we don’t have a satisfactory, general expression for communicating in our common vernacular. It seems like an issue that will only become more important as we add media and devices to the current equation, but at current I can’t come up with anything better. If you have a better idea, something it to me.

22 thoughts on “Something me

  1. I doubt that “ping” will catch on used correctly. Might catch on as a synonym for “contact”, but probably not as “verify that communication is possible by sending a content-free message”.

    Actually, there has been a common non-techy ping more or less forever: the Christmas card.

  2. I tend to agree with Tim — there is plenty vernacular for the general process of getting in touch with someone. “holla at me” is a good start, but “get at me,” “hit me up,” and “send me a shout” could all work.

    You don’t listen to enough rap music Cameron. Rappers have been creating vernacular to describe communication technologies as long as they’ve been rapping.

    Check out Big L’s song Ebonics:

    a cell phone’s a celly

    hit me on the hip means page me


  3. It is good to give someone a warning about how you plan to reach them. Your friend might want to surreptitiously IM during a meeting at work, for example. Or someone might not be checking email because his inbox is flooded. “Something me” just means that every option is fine. In fact, the guy really meant “‘anything me’, it doesn’t matter, I’ll get the message”. But there has got to be a better phrase to communicate that all communication channels are open.

  4. *Breaks out the word smithing tools*

    polycom me

    Because phrases tend to become shortened over their life time anyway, e.g. “God be with you” = goodbye and “Fare thee well = farewell,” lets drop the ‘me’ and make one word that means contact me with any communication mechanism available (e.g. come or pocom).



  5. I (mis)use “ping” in that manner all the time, and it’s common already in a wide range of non-techie business circles, though largely those that are adjacent to technology. (Media, politics.) Serves its purpose, and the fact that it’s not technically correct makes it even more likely to catch on.

  6. I *hate* ping me.

    It’s a) wrong, for reasons mentioned above and b) smacks of suits appropriating tech-speak that they don’t understand. I only hear marketing types / business types use “ping” for contact. CS folk know not to be misusing unix commands like that. I mean, rm that shit.

    I like “get me” for the general purpose contact. It’s quick and to the point. It also works like the other phrases “call me,” “IM me,” etc.

    OK, great meeting–get me next week and we’ll go from there.

  7. It seems to be a regionalism, but where I grew up we used “get up with”. E.g.: “I don’t know what we’re all doing this weekend, but I’ll get up with you once we’ve figured something out.” Zach’s “Get me” is fine as he wrote it, but I find it confusing in the above example. “I’ll get you once we’ve figured something out” may be misinterpreted as “I’ll come by to take you along” instead of “I’ll try to get in contact with you”.

  8. My friends and I have been using “hit me up” for ages. It does initially have that “hit me up [for money?]” connotation, but that seems to have dropped, at least in my social circle (college kids in Boston), and now it just means “contact me” (which is rather awkward). I’ve also heard “ping me” used (but really only in geek culture circles… not that I know anything about that.. cough cough).

    I’ve also used “give me a hollar/give me a shout”, but almost always refers to the phone.

  9. message me. i’m sure that’s been a sci-fi term somewhere along the way, but since it ends up filling lots of terms (text message, instant message, email message, voice message) it seems to fit. “message me later, like totally!”

  10. Zach… get a grip. Plenty of CS-aware, UNIXy people (mis)use and like *ping* as “get ahold of me”. Typically I’ve heard it used as “send me an IM and see if I’m around”. So technically it preserves much of its original meaning. I think you’re greping for something to gripe about.

  11. Duffy: I’d love to see “grep” fall into common usage as a verb like that. But I’m pretty sure you’d need to add an extra “p” to make it consistent with other -ing formations, so it would be “grepping”.

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