When did the word hack become a synonym for shortcut? Now I can remember when it emerged as a term describing someone using a computer or set of computers to break into another system to gain access to data that the user was not authorized to access. Oddly enough I even knew that it was a programming language.
But Google the word hack along with another term, such as cooking. The first hit is actually related to electronics while the next dozen on the page all relate to cooking. “22 Cooking Hacks That Will Make Your Life SO Much Easier,” “40 Creative Food Hacks That Will Change The Way You Cook,” and “20 Basic Cooking Hacks Everyone Should Know,” are just some of the many examples. The last one being from a site called Lifehack no less.
So I took a look at the first listed above, which is subtitled (You Have To Try #8!). Using a waffle iron to make hash browns, using a broiler to melt cheese, use dental flows to cut soft foods and so much more! How did I ever live without these tips. The all powerful #8 is simply freezing whipped toppings for drinks in cookie cutter molds. Wow.
So then I ventured to Lifehacks. It is like Dear Abby on steroids with advice on how to do almost anything. “5 Things You Need To Know Before Building a Tiny House,” “How I survived My Seasonal Allergies,” “The 5 Keys to Building Customer Trust and Loyalty,” “12 Hacks That Will Help You Get Through Cleaning Faster” and so much more. There are a number of categories including Entrepreneur, Culture, Infographic, Apps, Man & Woman and many more. Now I am not knocking sites that dole out advice, I go to look for information and how to’s all of the time. I just want to know how hack became the go to word to signify this.
I suspect it all has to do with Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO is the term that describes a method by which a web site or blog can organize itself with an emphasis on making sure that it can be easily found by search engines such as Google. This drives traffic and hopefully profits. Some specific phrases and keywords are better than others in generating traffic, according to Moz. I have never checked this out but was once told that the reason so many headlines had a question mark was that it helped search engines find the article. No idea if it’s true but a few years ago there seemed to be a lot more headline s that ended in that punctuation mark. If anybody knows better feel free to drop me a line. Cheers.