Adding “unlisted” and “burner” to the modern lexicon

Image Source: Raincross Marketing

Clear interface labels vs branded lingo

As a designer, it’s often challenging to choose the right one or two words to describe a complex or new concept.

See how awkward it is to describe the “+1" in prose? Even the tooltip on the button explains that a +1 simply means that you’re making a public recommendation or endorsement.

The rise of “unlisted” content

My first personal experience with “unlisted” content online was likely on YouTube. Making a video unlisted means that only people who have the link to the video can view it. It also means that the content won’t be broadcast to followers, or appear on the creator’s public profile. This is known as security through obscurity since the video isn’t secret, it’s just hard to find. An unlisted video can be viewed without requiring authentication.

The rise of “burner” digital identities

My friend Greg Cohn recently reached out to me to ask if I’d post Burner 3.0 to Product Hunt. I’d only used the app once before to talk to someone I met on Secret (before Secret v11 launched with in-app chat), so it hadn’t really stayed top of mind, even with the rise of anonymous and anonymish chat apps. Furthermore, like most people, “burner” connoted cheap, prepaid, disposable phones used by drug dealers to evade surveillance to me. Of course, I blame The Wire for this:

Why these terms are important

What difference does it make if unlisted and burner are added to the modern lexicon?

Chris Messina

This can all be made better. Ready? Begin.

    Chris Messina

    Written by

    Inventor of the hashtag. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Previously: Google, Uber, Molly (YC W18).

    Chris Messina

    This can all be made better. Ready? Begin.