I realized recently while writing about blogging protocol that spell-checkers do not recognize the word unpublish. Odd, I thought at first; it's an essential part of my vocabulary. Then: Of course it's not in dictionaries! Before the Internet, unpublishing a piece of writing made about as much sense as undropping an apple. Sure, you could cease publication (Stop the presses!), but once a book or newspaper is out there, it's out there.
I learned today that the New Oxford American Dictionary named unfriend its 2009 Word of the Year. Unpublish would have served as a less gimmicky option (although maybe gimmickry is part of the criteria for selection). Unfriend in common parlance is restricted to social networking sites. Further, as a general concept, it's not novel. Friends have become enemies for millennia.
Unpublish, on the other hand, signifies one of the largest revolutions in communication since one could publish in the first place. And it's not restricted to getting back at a Facebook acquaintance who uninvited you to her killer birthday party.
Unfortunately, Web publishing may be headed toward one of the words Oxford considered and rejected: paywall. Now there's a surefire way to unfriend your readership.