For example, you might sign up for an email newsletter, or subscribe to receive updates when someone requests to be your friend on Facebook. The emails you receive are good things, and you want to receive them, so they’re not spam. But they’re also potential interruptions to your workday, so they’re not regular email. They’re better than spam, and thus “bacn.” (The dropped ‘o’ is mostly for fun, and to distinguish from the food bacon.)
Having a word to describe this kind of email is useful. It draws attention to the different kinds of email we receive, and makes us think about how we handle each of them. Once I started thinking about spam, I took stock of the emails I sign up for. I unsubscribed from a number that had turned out not to be useful, and I set up filters to automatically redirect bacn to a separate folder, where I could deal with it quickly at set times in the day, rather than as it arrived.
The term “bacn” caught on quickly — I think this was because bacn labels a recognizable element of modern life, and because people appreciate having a label to sort out the things they face. CNN.com picked it up, and it garnered a mention in the New York Times.
And now, Time has labeled bacn one of the Top 10 Buzzwords for 2008.
I helped organize PodCamp Pittsburgh 2, but I can take no credit for the coining of “bacn.” I was down the hall at a session when the magic happened. Nonetheless, I get a thrill to see people pick up the idea.
Maybe the idea of bacn will change how you perceive the emails and messages you receive too.