Kleenex. Band-Aid. Frisbee. Google. Hands up – someone tell me what these words have in common. You’re more stumped than a bulldozed rainforest, aren’t you? These words are all proprietary eponyms, silly. An eponym is essentially a word that encapsulates the product it’s describing. Say for example you’ve managed to squeeze a sneeze out before that important business meeting, you wouldn’t ask for a “soft facial tissue”, you’d ask for a Kleenex (which is actually a brand name).
So my question is: is the BlackBerry slowly getting to that kind of eponymical status?
I’d say so. Nowadays whenever folks are seen typing away on some sort of handheld device, instead of calling it a PDA, I’ve been noticing that it’s slowly evolved into “they’re on a BlackBerry.” Whenever news reports talk about mobile devices, they don’t namecheck the BlackJack or Q, they use BlackBerry. And that picture that I used above? That was taken from someone’s Flickr account where the photo had the title “Get off your BlackBerry” when it’s obvious that this gentleman is on a Treo.
And that’s how it starts, I think. Society’s misinformation and lack of interest is slowly turning “BlackBerry” into one of those words that will never go away (well, for a while, at least). Do you folks have any instances where you’ve seen BlackBerrys represent even more than what they already are? Share with the class, would you?