A small, easily delivered, easiliy digested, fact-shaped entity. Usually so insignificant that it doesn't matter if it is true or not.

Most factoids convey fact. Some might say that the factoid was invented to train people not to ask for evidence behind information.

If the factoid efficiency ratio drops below 90%, cynicism grows, to where all factoids are questioned, and the disinformation packets are filtered out.

I'm told that the word 'factoid' was a creation of the great (or not-so-great, depending on your point of view) Norman Mailer, who supposedly wrote that 'factoids are... facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority.'

The etymology of the word makes sense - the word 'oid', according to Merriam-Webster, means 'something resembling a (specified) object or having a (specified) quality'. A factoid swims, waddles, and quacks like a fact, but it ain't a fact, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. It's a commonly accepted falsehood, a sound-bite myth. Or, more eloquently, from Mailer again : A factoid isn't a fact, but it damn well should be.

CNN's definition of factoid (seeming to mean 'interesting statistic') is wrong, but not for long; CNN's definition is becoming the accepted definition. It's not the correct meaning, but it just sounds right... making the meaning of the word itself a factoid.

And then that brings up the question of whether or not my quotes above are accurate in the least. I didn't bother to go to the library to find the book (titled 'Marilyn') where Mailer created the word, Burgess-like, so I might be propogating another falsehood, another factoid.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.