Archive for the ‘Jargon’ Category

Service of Pet Peeves III

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

I wrote the first two Pet Peeve posts in 2010 and 2011, summarized below as my feelings about them are unchanged. And although they’re not earmarked as such, many posts over years focus on irritating situations that fall in the peeve category, such as the recent ones about bait and switch sales tactics and euphemisms like “food insecurity” for hunger.

NOW

Hard to believe I have so many new ones.

I recently paid by credit card for bread in a bakery and dinner from a takeout-only Chinese place. In both instances an automatic tip request popped up on the tablet’s screen. Why should I give a tip to someone for putting a loaf of bread in a bag? I gave a tip for the Chinese takeout, even though I picked up my order, but friends who tip generously said they wouldn’t.

I don’t answer when surveys ask me what my income is and don’t believe that they should ask.

TV news producers: Stop showing close-ups of injecting vaccines into arms. For the squeamish who aren’t planning to get the vaccine it’s a turnoff and deterrent.

Train your vicious dog or give it away particularly if you live in an apartment house.

Respond to personal texts within 24 hours–especially if the sender infrequently reaches out and/or if they pose an important question.

If I never hear from you for months and we are personal acquaintances send me something more than a link to an article.

If I consistently “like” your Facebook postings, every once a quarter please “like” one of mine.

THEN

I’m surprised at how many of the oldie peeves are pandemic-proof. The exception might be how miffed I feel when my hands are full and someone near a door doesn’t hold it open. These days some might be afraid of getting too close. Another that irritated me 10 years ago was someone borrowing my pen and not returning it. I wouldn’t want it back now.

Otherwise, here are many of the oldie but still valid:

You call at a scheduled time and are told “Call me in 20 minutes.” The person who changes the time should make the second call.

Repetition of misinformation so it becomes true to some.

Drivers who don’t use their signal lights. It’s as handy a communication tool for pedestrians crossing city streets and avenues as it is for drivers.

Waste by government and corporations.

Buzzwords and jargon.

Tell me privately something that impacts me–don’t first announce it in public and if you want to give away something of mine, don’t ask me if it is OK in front of the potential recipient so I feel forced to say “yes.”

Don’t:

  • roll your eyes if I ask a question
  • offer to do something you know you won’t do
  • pull out on me causing me to slam on my brakes

Lack of traffic lights or signs at dangerous intersections drive me nuts.

Have your peeves stayed the same over years? Any new ones? Do people close to you know your peeves or do you keep them close to the vest?

Service of Euphemisms

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

We’ve come a long way from the days of “sanitation engineer,” one of the first head scratching euphemisms I remember. Outrageous euphemisms are a first cousin of jargon which is top of my list of pet peeves.

The one that gets me these days is “food insecurity” when hunger says it all.

The NBA wants team owners to be called “governor.” What’s wrong with owner? Others that get me are collateral damage and ethnic cleansing.

In “25 Terribly Misleading Euphemisms,” Amber Healy on INSH identified some that were unfamiliar to me: Take “compassion zone.” She explained that it refers to “an area within Kansas City designated for homeless people.” What about flashlight therapy? It’s “another way of saying a person is beaten by a flashlight, usually one carried by law enforcement officers.” She wrote that transfer tubes are what the military calls body bags and another way to refer to excrement is biosolids.

Do euphemisms that try to soften the truth irritate you? What are some you embrace?

Service of Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose–Redux

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Before a significant launch, a client invited the marketing experts who promoted his product to his conference room in the Pacific Northwest. He wanted us to hear and see others’ plans, to tweak ours if necessary, and eventually to coordinate and amplify the marketing effort to ensure we were all singing the same song. I was there for public relations and there was someone from direct marketing, advertising, graphics, customer service and so forth. My client was the puppeteer pulling the strings. It was years ago.

While he didn’t give it a fancy name–nor did he have access to the bells and whistles we now do–some 2019 jargon lovers might call what he did “360 degree marketing.”

Its offspring is 360 degree digital marketing that too-frequently falls off the lips of [trying to be] hip PR folks these days. Here’s how Wheelhouse Advisors explains it: “a 360 degree approach is all about taking a broad and all-encompassing view of your entire customer journey, from discovery to purchase, across multiple devices and touch points.” Sound familiar?

Wheelhouse listed the basics [the words in parentheses are mine]: “SEO [Search Engine Optimization]; PPC [pay per click]; Customer Communications; Website; Content; Social [LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube]; Inbound Lead Nurturing and Outbound Email.”

The longer I’m in business the more I slap my head when I see decades-old strategies dressed up in buzz simply because a few more communications elements have been added. Clients went berserk when the web was in its infancy, tossing all their marketing dollars at their websites, leaving none to promote where to find them. [Customers with no access to the web at that time were briefly kicked to the curb.]

Another popular word that marketers love lately–borrowed from the world of medicine–is “holistic.” An awful like “360 degree” to me, and what primo marketers have been trying to achieve all along. In fact, if some businesses are zeroing in exclusively on 360 degree digital marketing today they are making a gargantuan mistake. You know who you are.

Are there attempts in your industry to dust off the old and give it a fresh coat of paint–I mean words–to make it seem cutting edge simply because some of the tactics have changed? Is it only the insecure, hip-prone marketing world that falls for/sells this gobbledygook based on the premise everything we do must seem new?

Service of Words that Irritate

Monday, August 8th, 2016

I’ve written before about jargon that has driven me nuts since I first heard it. Judy Schuster wrote recently: “I’d love to see a post about the awful words that are being coined by people in business and in the media.”

I expanded the topic to also cover words and/or acronyms—even a phrase– that irritate.

Schuster shared some words that inspired this post:

  • Repurpose (she once threatened to wash a colleague’s mouth out with soap if he used it again)
  • Right sizing (otherwise known as layoffs)
  • Incentivize
  • Efforting  

Daniel McHenry, an actor, asked: “Why do people make up words? What’s the point of having a language?” He shared these examples:

  • Brexit
  • Gynormous

Two young information technology experts—Josh Citrón and Brandt Ziegler–objected to the IT buzzword

  • Quiesce—to momentarily/temporarily stop or pause or disable.

They added:

  • Leverage our synergy to maximize our outcomes
  • Core competencies
  • Market volatility
  • ROI

While on the subject of words, Citrón and Ziegler couldn’t stop.

  • One dislikes it when people say “On accident,” instead of “By accident” and he shivers when he hears the word “moist.”
  • Citrón objects to all the ____gate words such as travelgate or deflategate [to describe under-inflated Patriots footballs].

If you listen to enough political talk on cable, you hear words the pundits pick up and repeat, like a tossed basketball, from evening to evening, such as “writ large” [MSNBC had an outbreak of this one a few weeks ago]. Eventually writ large made my teeth grind. Did you hear dystopia make the rounds? The word means “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one,”—Google. [See the photo below.] I heard President Obama use it at least once in a press conference or speech after the Democratic convention.

Doesn’t it feel great to get annoying words or expressions off your chest? Do you have any to add? Do some of the ones listed also irritate you?

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