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sofalizing also sofalising

noun [uncountable]

the activity of using the Internet or other electronic devices to socialize with people from home, rather than meeting them face to face

sofalize also sofalise

verb [intransitive]

sofalizer also sofaliser

noun [countable]

'Millions of us have given up socialising for "sofalising" – talking to pals via phones and the net instead of going out.'

The Sun 11th November 2010

'Researchers claim nearly a quarter of us sofalise every night – rather than go to a pub, club or village hall to meet people face to face, we plop down on the sofa … spending hours updating our profiles on social networking sites, chatting online or Tweeting …'

Daily Mail 15th November 2010

'There is even an army of "extreme sofalisers" – the three per cent who spend a staggering 25 hours or more each week talking to friends via electronic devices.'

Telegraph, UK 30th November 2010

As I write, the UK is currently at the mercy of what is perceived to be an unusually early period of winter snowfall, the first time Brits have seen snow in November for many years. But those of us who are confined to barracks or reluctant to venture out because of adverse weather conditions need not be cut off from our pals. Hey, it's the 21st century and there's no need to actually see them for real, when we can chat and share all other intimate details of our lives at the touch of a keypad. Yes, staying in is the new going out, as socializing in person plays second fiddle to a phenomenon coined sofalizing.

those of us who prefer to
talk to our friends without having
to step through the front door have
a variety of ways of sofalizing at our disposal

A poll recently conducted in the UK revealed that one in four Brits prefer to do the majority of their communicating from the comfort of their own home. Rather than going out to meet people in person, it seems that there's a growing tendency to sofalize – socialize with friends and family via electronic devices in the home. Instead of long, detailed conversations over a meal or a drink, it appears that many of us prefer the immediate, rapid-fire exchanges we can have through text messaging or social media.

Those of us who prefer to talk to our friends without having to step through the front door, in fact have a variety of ways of sofalizing at our disposal, including texting, e-mail, instant messenger, Skype, Twitter, live chat, status updates or wall posts on Facebook, and the communication networks associated with online gaming and gambling.

There may be many reasons why people are choosing to sofalize rather than socialize – convenience, laziness, time pressure, the expense of going out, or just a desire to avoid lengthy conversations. Whatever the explanation, it seems that the way we are communicating with friends and family is changing, with people increasingly preferring the short, regular and instant exchanges afforded by electronic media, rather than more prolonged, infrequent conversations in person.

Background – sofalizing also sofalize and sofalizer

The term sofalizing is, of course, a blend of the words sofa (=soft, comfortable seat) and socializing, where this describes the activity of spending time with other people socially – in other words, socializing whilst lounging around on a sofa. Following the pattern of the verb socialize, there's also evidence of use of an intransitive verb sofalize. A countable noun sofalizer refers to individuals who maintain friendships in this way. The spelling variant sofalising (and sofalise, sofaliser) is also used, reflecting the spelling conventions of verbs which end in -ise (-ise is the British spelling, -ize is used in both British and US varieties, e.g. realise/realize).

Sofalizing was coined in 2010 by online casino company Yazino, in the context of research commissioned to determine trends in how potential users interact with one another.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

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This article was first published on 13th December 2010.

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