Have you ever noticed that there always seems to be a small handful of buzzwords that, according to advertising, are the thing that’s finally going to save you? Never mind that the last one didn’t, nor did the one before that — THIS one is it, the golden goose, the magic bullet, and the answer to life, the universe, and everything all rolled into one. You can tell when someone has been infected by one of these buzzwords, because it starts cropping up in every conversation you have with them. It has to be in every project spec and gets mentioned in every meeting — regardless of whether it has anything to do with or any value to the work at hand.
Most of the time, buzzwords began life as a good idea — but as the ’30-second meme world’ gets a hold of them, they change into a fast and loose concept that will somehow change all things for the better. If you only had (insert buzzword here), your business would be a success, your children would grow up to lead the free world, you’d instantly drop 10 pounds, and never again would you meet a home appliance you couldn’t set the digital clock on.
Okay, maybe I’m a little cynical about how easily the undereducated throw around buzzwords. And perhaps my eye twitches uncontrollably when people use them in completely inappropriate ways, or they assign meaning to them that has nothing to do with them. Yes, it’s true — anytime anyone trots out ‘the latest thing’ and starts talking about how it can solve all problems, I have to work very hard to keep from blowing a gasket.
But rather than continuing to silently go mad, I’ve decided to try to spend some time rescuing buzzwords from the hands of the velcro people, to instead return them to their natural habitat of being a good, well-defined idea.