Alison Golan, social media strategy expert at Porter Consulting
As a consultant for many technology firms, I’m not pulled into endless meetings each day. Therefore, I’m usually spared hearing corporate buzzwords on a daily basis. Yet as I edit blogs and other articles for my clients, these annoying words do occasionally rear their ugly heads. And when they do, I quietly remove them and replace them.
Why the big fuss over buzzwords? Simple: they are overused and therefore annoying. I actually liked some of them when I first heard them. Take for instance, wantrepreneur—I found that one to be quite funny and amazingly accurate. The problem is that everyone else thought the same way, and we started hearing wantrepreneur everywhere.
So what exactly is a buzzword? It’s a word that has been either made up or given a new meaning. Then it catches on, and it seems like everyone is using it. Wantrepreneur is one of those made up words. Amplify, another one of today’s commonly used buzzwords, is a real word that is just being used (and overused) in a different way. Today, everyone wants to amplify their message (we can thank social media for this one). So amplify makes its way into numerous conversations a day and sneaks into our writing.
The other day I was editing an article and the writer was saying how the research team did a deep dive into the technology. Well, let’s hope so—after all, you are releasing a new technology, so I would expect that you would research it. Since that incident was about the fifth time I had heard that particular phrase in a week, I quickly removed it.
Another buzzword I must have missed the first time around is socialize (as in, let’s socialize this or socialize that idea—meaning, talk with others and get their opinion). According to my research, socialize this first stormed the business world in 2010. I certainly hope it’s not making a comeback.
Every now and then a buzzword makes its way into our vocabulary and becomes greater than a buzzword. It becomes an accepted word that actually describes something that we didn’t have a word for previously. I consider big data to be such a word. According to whatis.com, big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information. Congratulations, big data, you are one of the few buzzwords that made it to the big time.
Getting back to the title of this article—is there a purpose or benefit of using buzzwords in our writing? The short answer is no. As writers, we need to develop well-written content that is also fresh and creative. By the time a buzzword is a buzzword, it is neither.
Do you have a favorite buzzword? Let me know at agolan(at)porterconsulting(dot)net.
Alison Golan is a writer, social media consultant, and marketing expert with 20+ years of experience teaching technology companies how to better tell their stories. At Porter Consulting, Alison works with a team of professionals to help companies grow revenue and market share by utilizing the latest marketing and sales methodologies. To read more blogs by Alison, check out Porter Consulting’s blog site at www.porterconsulting.net.