I’ve just invented a word although that seems very unlikely. If you can prove a usage prior to mine, let me know. The word is: ghostpuppet.

You may know about sockpuppets . Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

“A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending to be a different person,[1] like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet.”

You may have also heard of meatpuppets. Meatpuppets are other people, friends, relatives, employees, slaves whom we get to promote us online while they keep their relationship to us secret.

Ghostpuppets are different. Say you find yourself spending too much time online at a “social networking” site. Someplace like authonomy maybe. And finally you break away and leave. Only the real world is a cold and lonely place where no one wants to hear your theories about literature and speculation about publishing. So you go back. Only you tell yourself it’s just to play, just to forumcate a bit. But you’re not quite out, not quite yourself. Some people know who you are. Some don’t recognize you. You’ve got a new screen name and a gender neutral avatar. You are in some ways a shadow of your previous self. Not a sockpuppet as you have nothing to promote and no other identity. A ghost.

Like it?
Also do I get bonus points for forumcate? The noun form is forumcation. The definition is “to spend endless hours on a forum posting shit.” Or as my British friends say “shite.”

4 Comments on I’m calling this neologism

  1. Isn’t this how the infamous Robert X from Australia got his start? Don’t tell me the whole site has turned into ghosts of its former selves… I’ll never be able to work it out if I go back there for a visit.

    But I am quite happy to give you 10 points for the new word, and you should get TWO bonus points for “forumcate.”

  2. Shoshanna Einfeld says:

    I am a forumcating ghost puppet for all the reasons you’ve described. :o) Pock Suppet

  3. Troll says:

    Promotion has nothing to do with the general concept of sock puppets. That’s an Authonomy thing.

    Most of the time they’re used for support in arguments, say things the main personality can’t without ruining their rep, stuff like that.

    I like the reasoning (“You are in some ways a shadow of your previous self”) but ghostpuppet still implies a main personality. If you say “ghostpuppet” I think of abandoned sock puppets.

  4. Barbara says:

    Sockpuppets are inclusive of promotion, I think. Any book discussion forum or writing discussion forum gets them popping on pretending that they’re readers who just found this wonderful book and have to share, except that they’ve apparently never read any other books, and can’t quite explain how they came to find & read this one self-published book. See also Amazon 5-star reviews.

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