The Buzzsaw, an online tool that strips the buzzwords out of press releases, speeches and blog posts, today announces its awards for the worst tech jargon of 2020.
The top 10 list is based on frequency of submissions from tech editors and correspondents worldwide.
The Buzzsaw (www.thebuzzsaw.co.uk ) is compiled and maintained by PR strategist Hamish Thompson who has worked with more than 150 businesses worldwide, many of them tech companies, to promote better communication.
Paste a press release or speech into the Buzzsaw and the document is checked against a database of thousands of tech and other buzzwords and clichés. The document is returned with all matches struck through in red.
The Buzzsaw is used by thousands of organisations worldwide.
The 2020 Buzzsaw Tech Hall of Shame (Comments below are supplied by judges):
- *preneur. Judge’s comments: “Bolt any word on the front of this suffix and you’ll find that there is someone styling themselves this way. Check Google. It’s a fun sport. Potatopreneur, burgerpreneur, manurepreneur, you name it – and people do. I’m told there is even a preneurpreneur. Rule of thumb: if you describe yourself as an entrepreneur, you probably aren’t.”
- Circle back, reach out, revert, all hands on deck, pivot. – Judge’s comments: “This is essentially a tech pilates session of terrible words and phrases.”
- Unicorn. Judge’s comments: “A mythical creature, and candidly, mythical says it all.”
- ITL. Judge’s comments: “As brutal human resources speak, or human capital as it now seems to be called, ITL, or invitation to leave, is about as hard as they come. It’s another word for dismissal or sacking or redundancy, and companies ought to have the grace and the guts to say so.”
- Ship. Judge’s comments: “Abbreviations are common in tech companies, but in the same way that signing off with ‘Best’ is an act of egregious laziness, ‘ship’ instead of ‘relationship’, as in ‘we have a great ship with that company’ makes the ‘relation’, which is sort of the point, seem commoditised.”
- Interrogate. Judge’s comments: “It mostly applies to data, thankfully, but the word still feels a bit ‘torturey’ for my liking.”
- Disambiguate. Judge’s comments: “This is the uberbuzzword. It means clarify, but does the opposite. It is like washing a window with mud.”
- Thought leader. Judge’s comments: “Someone said recently that a thought leader is someone who is rich and unemployed. Anyone who puts this in their bio is likely to be pretty disappointing.”
- Servitization. Judge’s comments: “As far as I can tell, this means service.”
- Content. Judge’s comments: “Second only to the vacuum of space as the emptiest thing in the universe. It’s like calling literature or journalism ‘words’. It’s the high watermark in the commoditisation of writing.”