"Chat Heads" Versus "Chatheads"

15 April 2013

Wired:

“They’re probably doing it because the most common compound words with ‘head’ in them are ‘dickhead,’ ‘shithead,’ and ‘meathead,’” says WIRED’s copy chief, Jennifer Prior, who has spent more than a dozen years assessing the grammatical validity of made-up tech terms. There’s also pothead, cokehead, crackhead, and butthead. “They clearly don’t want Chathead to have a similarly pejorative connotation,” says Prior.

It makes sense: When you launch a new product, you don’t want it associated with dickheads and shitheads.

This is a case of overthinking a situation. If people want to make ‘shithead’ jokes, having a space between the words isn’t going to stop them. This level of crude humour has no regard for grammatical correctness.

If Facebook was worried this was an issue, the solution would be to find a different name entirely, not debate over compound words. This article puts too much weight on the importance of good brand names. In the vast majority of cases, products survive or die based on their feature set, not on their names.1

1 Case in point being the iPad.