Chris Brogan recently blogged about some people who coined the term “Bacn,” defined as “any email you receive that isn’t spam, but isn’t exactly a personal message either”. The essence is that Bacn isn’t Spam, because you signed up for it somehow.
It’s pretty much given that we Internet types would rather coin a new vowel-deprived word or acronym instead of using two or three perfectly good existing terms. That’s because everything we do is New; we’re revolutionizing the world; inventing new paradigms; blah, blah, blah. [Forgive me, I digress. I still have visions of people who knew diddly squat about retailing claiming that all big retailers would be closing their bricks and mortar operations by 1999. Hah.]

So now we have “Bacn”, a word rather than an acronym. And therein lies the problem. Acronyms can be pretty well any cluster of letters, pronounceable or not. It’s acceptable to crowbar in a few invisible vowels and find a way to say just about any acronym. The best ones even do that for you.

Words are a different matter. With the exception of some fairly ancient English names it’s a fair expectation that a word has sufficient vowels in it to make some sense. “Bacn” doesn’t. Therefore it’s intuitively more likely to be an acronym. The problem is that the people who came up with this term just contracted “Bacon” by running it through some conceptual process that seems similar to the way “meat” is manufactured into “Spam”. Less is more. Sometimes.

There’s a simple fix for this, retrofit a phrase into “Bacn” and make it “BACN” the acronym:

BACN: Bland Automated Community Notifications.

Word or not, it remains to see if Bacn (or BACN) is merely some transient artifact that wannabe-hip people blog about for a few months before it fades into obscurity, or if it will stick and see widespread use.

Personally I’m far more concerned about having just joined the horde of wannabe hipsters who have blogged about it. I’m so cool that I’m at risk of becoming uncool. Horrors.