I have used the term “facebooksofting” in quite a bit of presentations lately. It reflects what you do when you relax with your laptop surfing around facebook for an hour or so. I learned it from my coworker Marius Arnesen. And he heard it the first time from some of his friends after they’d done a full day of show kiting snowkiting in the Norwegian mountains.

Sitting in the car on their way back to the hotel he was listening to these young people looking forward to do “some facebooksofting” when they returned. A couple of years ago and the same young people would have been looking forward to some relaxing in front of the TV. Times are changing.

A couple of weeks ago I was speaking at a conference in Stockholm and Mr. Antony Mayfield of Spannerworks liked the term and mention it in his article about Facebooksofting and Facebacklashing. I was about to leave a comment to clarify the Norwegian use of the word “soft”, but it turned into this article and a trackback to Mr. Mayfield.

We have a couple of Norwegian words that are identical to English words but meaning something else. Some of the classic ones are “boss” that in my Norwegian dialect means trash. And “odd” and “even”. They’re both quite usual male names in Norway. I guess it’s bound to amuse people if two Norwegian brothers named Odd and Even present themselves in the UK or the US. “Hello, my name is Odd and this is my brother Even”.

But using the term “softing”, relating to “soft” to describe relaxation is something we have borrowed from Sweden. And as far as I know it has been adopted from English.

I guess it is because relaxing is a “soft” activity? I really don’t know, but people from Denmark, Norway and Sweden are pretty clever watering out their own language with English words. In all kinds of strange ways.