This is one game that's easier to play than avoid.
We're all guilty of overusing tech industry buzzwords. And why not? They play a useful role as common shorthand that (conveniently) confers an aura of "cool" to those fluent in the lingua franca of 21st century business.
But as CES 2016 reaches its climax, many of us are finding ourselves facing buzzword burnout over what feels like an egregious level of noise pollution emanating from Las Vegas over the last few days.
“Disruptive.” “Influencer.”“(Anything)-Hacking.” “Unicorn.” I'm sure we've heard them all this week, many times over.
Never mind that some of this lingo could be headed for limbo faster than Kim (or any other) Kardashian can “Break the Internet.”
“Unicorn,” for instance, is quickly morphing into “unicorpse,” as concerns grow that companies like Gilt, Tango and SFX Entertainment may prove emblematic of some of these hard-to-find beasts with billion-dollar valuations may ultimately fare.
In the meantime, GEN WOW found some catharsis in a piece this week by Shawn Paul Wood in PR Newser, lamenting some of the most irksome buzzwords found in news stories and press releases.
When we mentioned the article in our GEN WOW LinkedIn Group, member Rick Wootten, senior director of global marketing for Seagate, mused about having some fun with it all—in the form of a game of "Buzzword Bingo."
That sparked an in-group and subsequent email conversation about developing a mobile app for facilitating a decidedly tech industry-centric version of the game at events such as, well, CES.
"It's natural for industry buzzwords to come and go in cycles, but sometimes enough of them peak at the same time to create Lingo Overload," Wootten says. "We're experiencing one of those times right now—and I think we should make the most of it!"
It's a great idea—and one that might prompt us all (myself included) to be a little more judicious about how often (and how accurately) we use these phrases.
Best of all, while it could take even the most agile development team (another buzzword) days or weeks to produce a full-blown app, we figured we'd just mock up a bare bones Buzzword Bingo card so you can start playing today.
How to Play
- Each time a news story or press release using one of these painfully overused words or phrases hits your inbox or browser window, mark off a square.
- Capture the link to the story or release for validation.
- Mark off a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of lingo—and BINGO!
If the mood strikes us, we'll try a formal round this coming Post-CES news week. Who knows, there might even be a prize involved.
That is, if the game doesn't go too fast. A three-minute audit of my inbox and news feeds this morning produced plentiful junk jargon, including:
A particular pet peeve. Not merely because it’s so overused, but because there’s no such thing.
So far as I can tell, the total number of so-called “sharing economy” companies that are “sharing” anything comes to zero.
That Uber driver isn’t “sharing” her car. You have used an app to request a ride that you will pay a fee for using. The only thing that may get "shared" is polite conversation on the way to your destination. The far more accurate term is “the on-demand economy,” since that’s truly the distinction separating many of these new services from what has come before. Then again, I'm biased.
Perp: Business Insider (quoting a car company executive). Again, I am including links not to call out the pub or its sources—we're all guilty of geekspeak—but rather to document buzzword use so I can claim my square.
"IoT" & "IoE'
Ah, "The Internet of Things" or "The Internet of Everything." Whatever variant you want to use, it’s surely vying to be #1 biggest buzzword at CES this year. Perps just today include EE Times, ZDNet and EWeek.
Actually, I take back what I just said about "IoT;" this one could very well take the cake, with numerous entries this morning, ranging from Forbes’ look at “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES” to WIRED's "Best of CES" and beyond.
And this is all in under three minutes.
What do you think your card might look like in the same amount of time?
Could games like this raise our awareness and encourage us to seek other terms and phrases?
Or are these words, flawed as some are, just too useful and compelling in (catchphrase alert:) the marketplace of ideas?
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