Holy Eff! It’s Cyber Monday! Have you already blown a mouse—because today is the busiest online shopping day of the year? 131 million people are expected to shop online today in this fake, made-up holiday/celebration of all things Internet-consumerism. Yes, the brick-and-mortar world wasn’t going to take first place with the manmade “Black Friday”—where people sacrifice all dignity to line up in the middle of the night outside of Walmart and punch each other in the face to get a few bucks off a Tickle Me Elmo doll.
First of all, the prefix “cyber” is some antiquated term from the 1990s, pulled from some Matrix novel about a futuristic utopia. It’s as ridiculous as having an Internet shopping day called, “WWW.Wednesday.” Named as such, are we supposed to put on our virtual reality glasses and enter into the virtual marketplace where we our sensor-gloves can pull things off the online Target store shelves?
A little history of the word, “cyber”: Sci-fi writer William Gibson coined the term in his 1984 novel Neuromancer. Gibson used the buzzword “cyberspace” because he felt it was both “evocative and essentially meaningless.” The non-ironic phrase “Cyber Monday” only came into our vernacular in 2005 to persuade consumers to shop online. (Bye-bye.) It entered into the American lexicon via a press release from online retailers’ group Shop.org. Even in 2005, the word “cyber” was already an Internet verbiage relic.
According to the New York Times: “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked.”
So basically, it was a dial-up modem and a retro-futurism term that brought about today’s second favorite annoying shopping holiday. Why is Cyber Monday needed? Because Americans get anxious when they feel like they’re missing out on a bargain and aren’t spending cash the very minute the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are devoured.
Interesting fact found in Salon: the term “cyber” first appeared in the 1940s neologism cybernetics. It’s derived from the Greek word kybernetes, or “steersman”—which in English can translate to: the science of control. So have a happy Cyber Monday everyone! You bunch of online shopping sheep.