I heard it again yesterday. In another IT talk. This time during Drupal Discovery Day. The presenter was showing the front page of a website he’d built and talking about his choices for SEO. He’d added a video module because “…search engines think video is sexy.”
After the sessions were finished, and everybody was chatting over drinks (which there were way more of than we were able to consume), I approached him and after congratulating him on his presentation asked what it is about video that search engines find sexy. He explained that the SE takes into consideration the user’s response to what’s on the page and apparently users are excited when they have a video option.
Me: Sexually excited?
Him:Not unless it’s sexually explicit.
I explained my distaste for the use of ‘sexy’ as an adjective to describe anything of interest and told him about the Sexy Pothole blog post as well as some recent conversations I’ve had about this misuse of the word. I suggested that for his next presentation he find another word that better describes what video does for search engines. It was a friendly, stimulating chat. He understood what I was talking about. Stimulating might be a good word to describe how SE ‘s feel about video.
I’ve had a few other chats with people about this, with mixed reactions. Some quite intense – yet good natured – debates. The commonest reaction from men (paraphrased): “It’s not literal.”
I know it’s not literal.
But my favorite reaction came from a young woman working in digital marketing:
“I hate that. My brother uses it all the time. He’ll get a new camera and say it’s really sexy. I can’t stand that!”
Happy to find a kindred spirit in the dislike of its incorrect use, and a younger woman at that, someone who reflects the thinking of a different generation. So it’s not just because I’m a fuddy-duddy. I wonder how many people you alienate with the incorrect use of the word? Do you think you snare more than you lose?
And now, to keep the search engine satisfied, here’s a sexy spoof. The original is way better than the new version. Even if you hate the song, you’ve got to appreciate Right Fred Said’s clever sense of humor!
Made 20 years later, is this LMFAO response? What do you think?
- Sex and the Sixties Girl: What The Hell Is Sexy Anyway? (thegloss.com)
- 10 Offbeat & Alternative Search Engines You Might Not Have Heard Of (makeuseof.com)