Service of Buzzwords II

May 23rd, 2013

Categories: Buzzwords, Language, Writing

After he defined “view at 30,000 ft,” an airplane metaphor for the big picture, Matt Mecs, whose intelligence drove my first buzzwords post almost three years ago, directed me to “30 Days of Buzzwords” on Mashable. I picked just a few to whet your appetite and to leave room for a few others that caught my eye.

A talented writer and original thinker, Mecs is also director of sales at Local Focus Radio and media studies adjunct professor at Metropolitan College of New York. We share tooth grinding reactions to most buzzwords.

From Mashable:


Stephanie Buck wrote “If you use the web you are a ‘curator’” which she makes clear has nothing to do with the museum kind but refers to “a whole new catalog of professions, brands and tools — and most revolve around the web.” She continued: “A curator ingests, analyzes and contextualizes web content and information of a particular nature onto a platform or into a format we can understand. In other words, a curator is like that person at the beach with the metal detector, surfacing items and relics of perceived value. Only, a web curator shares those gems of content with their online audiences.”


In “How About a glass of ideation?” Dani Fankauser explains: “Most often, when people use the term ideation, they’re referring to coming up with ideas, also known as brainstorming.”

Snackable Content

 “In our busy, media-saturated, distraction-rich lives, marketers, brands and media outlets have to work harder and faster to grab our attention, giving rise to the buzzword in question — ‘snackable content’” That’s Amy-Mae Elliott writing in “Are you hungry for ‘snackable content?’” She notes that some studies report average adult attention spans run from 2.8 to 8 seconds [the latter down four from 13 years ago.]

Social Commerce

Then there’s Lauren Indvik who covered social commerce. She quotes a marketing consultant, Heidi Cohen: “ ‘it’s ‘social media meets shopping.’”


Writes Todd Wasserman in an amusing post about the metric that I’m ruining by picking out just the core for this post: “The acronym stands for ‘key performance indicators.’” He continued: “Every industry has its own KPIs. In retail, for instance, same-store sales are a KPI, while in the auto industry they might be inventory turns or manufacturing cycle times.”

Moving away from this wonderful series:

Native Advertising, Snowfalling and Pizza Story

Joe Pompeo, wrote “Times Editor Jill Abramson Likes ‘Snowfalling’ A Lot Better Than ‘Native Advertising’” in CapitalNY. Abramson inserted the terms in her public talk at Wired Magazine’s annual business conference.

Pompeo wrote: “‘Snowfall,’ verb: To execute the type of expensive, time-consuming, longform-narrative multimedia storytelling.”

He quoted Abramson who defined native advertising “‘for the conference set … It’s the buzzword of 2013’s business model discussions at conferences.’”

And pizza story? It’s “A massive breaking-news event that keeps reporters and editors holed up in the Times Eighth Avenue newsroom for extended periods of time. Example: the Boston bombing.”

Six More

Last, here are a few I’d saved from David Mielach’s BusinessNewsDaily’s “12 Buzzwords You’ll Need to Know in 2013.” All definitions are Mielach’s:

Advertainment— “Advertising is no longer about interrupting what people are interested in, it’s about being what people are interested in.”

Phablets— A mixture of a smartphone and tablet.

Alphanista— “Successful women in powerful positions having it all.”

Inventreprenuers— “An entrepreneur-inventor hybrid that markets and/or manufactures their own creation.”

Twinternship— “An internship where the student’s mission is to promote the company and its brands using social media such as Twitter and Facebook.”

Minergy— Someone who uses “minimal energy to get the task accomplished.”

Any buzzwords to share? Do you find them fun, exclusionary, irritating or possibly error-inducing?



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7 Responses to “Service of Buzzwords II”

  1. David Reich Said:

    I tend not to use buzzwords if I can avoid them. I don’t like being a follower, and it seems many who constantly use the buzzword of the month are just trying to sound like they’re cool and in-the-know.

    How about plain English that says what you mean.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I’m with you David.

    If you link to the post in the IDEATION paragraph, you’ll read that a person being interviewed used that word instead of ideas. The chairman who was having coffee with him said he hated that word when “ideas” would work just as well and he didn’t get the job.

  3. Frank Paine Said:

    I share your antipathy to buzzwords. What scares me though is that I used to be able to translate most of them into English. I was appalled at how many of the ones you listed made no sense to me at all. I guess I shouldn’t apply for a translator’s job anymore. Sheesh! Don’t cry for me New York City…

  4. H. Higgins Said:

    I will not go far as to say that I am a student of languages, but I do speak a few of them and care for them deeply — where they came from; who speaks them; how they change, and where they are going.

    I find them, at their best, fascinating and beautiful. Pull out a few Shakespearian sonnets; you’ll see what I mean. 400 years old and the language is fresh, magnificent and unsurpassed.

    At their worst, languages are debased by what you write about, stilted and cluttered with pointless, pompous words intended to impress and confuse rather than to inform.

    Because of the mass communication capabilities of modern technology, languages are dying out faster today than they are being created. Even Aramaic, the language of Christ is in peril, and scholars are rushing to capture the last words of the few remaining speakers. It is sad, but that is how the life cycle works. Death always follows birth.

    I understand the inevitability of change; how it stimulates creativity and can be healthy. Words like “ten-fours” and “high-fives” have a certain lilt to them, but many of the new words you describe seem contrived and constructed to hide the user’s inability to speak any language coherently.

    It is bad enough to find, as I now often do in New York, that the English being spoken around me is as incomprehensible as the French argot I hear when I visit Paris. I resent having needlessly to learn a whole bunch of unnecessary new words, asap, to understand what people are saying. I’d rather learn Aramaic.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    I don’t pay attention to buzzwords, but think the world of that beautiful fly. How dull the overrated diamond is in comparison. Guess there were tons of successful buzzwords which drowned out existing beauty in favor of a dreary stone.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If people can’t guess what a buzzword means then I think it may not be long for this world so unless we think it’s worthy of committing to memory, we don’t need to bother. Smartphone acroynms are another thing that irk. They save time for those who use them but if you’re not familiar, the message is lost.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Ms. or Mr. Higgins,

    Reading your thoughtful comment made me think of the game of telephone and what happens to a word or more from first to last child. Add to buzzwords the thriving fashion to swallow words while accelerating the speed at which the speaker utters them–the Obama administration’s rep who took the heat on the Sunday morning network TV shows was a master and spoke and swallowed faster from interview to interview–and it might be easier to learn Aramaic.

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