So this blog is about shifts in emphasis or usage. I like to track the rise and fall of a word's prominence. Take 'not.' A few years ago people would follow a positive statement with the word not: "I love you. Not!" After a couple of years this usage faded. I read that this usage had also been popular for a while in the '30s'.
Several months ago a scientist on a radio program I was listening to began each answer to a question with the word 'so.' "Why is the universe expanding?" "So the universe used to be quite small...." Is 'so' replacing 'well' as a meaningless introduction or threshold to something you want to convince your listener of?