We know “Panopticonic” is not really a word.  “Panopticonic” is really a “word” I invented for my Boles Network Blog by the same name.  When I started the Panopticonic blog, “Panopticonic” appeared nowhere on the internet and that word failed to return any results in a Google search.  I do so love it so, though, when I get a Google Alert in my Inbox showing me that — “Panopticonic” — is being colloquially employed as a “real world” in a real publication like Salon Magazine.

Salon Magazine writer Andrew Leonard is our new best friend.  In his fine article published yesterday — “William Gibson jacks into Google’s cool menace” — my non-word “Panopticonic” appears twice in the article as a real word!

Here a screenshot of the first Panopticonic inception:

Here’s the proof-of-text of same Panopticonic moment [emphasis added]:

I don’t like William Gibson’s Op-Ed piece on Google in today’s New York Times merely because, barely a week after I went all Jeremy Bentham Panopticonic on the cat bin lady, he writes that “Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon prison design is a perennial metaphor in discussions of digital surveillance and data mining, but it doesn’t really suit an entity like Google.” Even though it’s kind of a put-down (perennial!), still, great minds think almost alike, right?

Here is a screenshot of the the second “Panopticonic” incarnation:

Here, too, is Panopticonic proof-of-life in text with emphasis added.  [Private Note to Andrew Leonard:  “Panopticonic” is always capitalized!  Please add that notation in your copy of the AP Stylebook, ASAP.]

Of course, to do this, Gmail has to figure out even more about us than it already knows. Who are the correspondents we judge more deserving of our attention, et cetera? The trade-off is obvious. The give and take between utility and panopticonic omniscience is as exquisitely illustrated by Priority Inbox as anything Gibson name-checks.

Oh, how I love it!

Memeingful definitions create RelationShaping moments — as words become wild changelings with a life and spirit of their own — and “Panopticonic” is now well on its way to sneaking into our daily lives on a regular basis.

Oh, and just so we’re clear on the non-origins of the etymology of “Panopticonic” as not being a word, here’s screenshot proof taken today on Merriam-Webster.com:

If Merriam-Webster isn’t good enough for you, here’s the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online edition — for a “Panopticonic” definition — searched for just this morning.  The OED online gets regularly updated:

We love you, Andrew Leonard, and please, keep up the good work and continue using “Panopticonic” in print for as long as you may live.

We also encourage you to use “Panopticonic” in your daily lexicon.  Write it.  Tweet itFacebook it.  Know it.

We thank you for your ongoing patronage and “Panopticonism.”

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.


  1. That’s great news, David. Keep up the propagation of panopticonism!



    1. Yes, we’re taking over the world, Gordon — one new word at a time!



  2. So rich! Keep up the good work! Seeing your word like that must make you feel like a successful inventor.



    1. It is a great thrill to see “my new words” used elsewhere. “Inventor” is a great label that I accept. Ha!



  3. […] of the few, joyous, pleasures of life.  You have an idea.  You try to congeal that notion into a memorable .com domain — and you always try to then give those ideas a good home.  Today, I am both sad and […]



  4. […] powerful writers use our fake work in their print.  In the past, we have spread our love out to Andrew Leonard at Salon.com, and today, we celebrate Lydia DePillis at WashingtonCityPaper.com who took […]



  5. […] thrill whenever we see a mainstream media outlet use the made up title of this Panopticonic blog in print on their pages.  The latest media monster to invoke our “Panopticonic” is CounterPunch in a fine […]



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