Microsoft: The end of 'my' is nigh
Those folders on your Windows desktop will still be yours -- but in the future you'll need to figure that out on your own.
Ending a longstanding tradition, Microsoft Corp. plans to stop using the word "my" as the default prefix for such folders as "My Documents," "My Music," "My Pictures" and others along those lines. Starting in the next Windows version, due out next year, folders will be known simply as "Documents," "Music," and so on.
With any other product, such a minor change probably wouldn't even be noticed. But the Microsoft operating system runs on more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers, and its persistent use of the word has been one of its most conspicuous characteristics -- helping to fuel widespread use of the "my" prefix in the technology industry.
Granted, computer users might not celebrate the change as much as they did the retirement of Microsoft's unpopular "Clippy" animated assistant. But some experts in the language of technology clearly won't be sorry to see "my" disappear from the next Windows version.
The practice was an artificial attempt to create a personal connection between people and their computers -- "to capture the loyalty of an egocentric population," said Naomi Baron, linguistics professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
"I don't know if we ever, as users, reacted the way that Microsoft hoped we would," Baron said.
"Some people might have, but I think in essence it was just extraneous language," she said.
The technique seems especially outdated now that computers and technology have become such a normal part of everyday life, she said.