Thursday, December 14


{Just in: an observation or two from the Great White North, pointing the finger at the media.
I must agree that once a buzzword makes the jump from press release or marketing materials to editorial territory, all is lost. I think the leading vector of lexical infection must be analysts. Analysts and consultants.}
Dear Buzzkiller,
Just a few random observations on the rise of buzzwords:
Do you think Wired magazine should take any responsibility for the dramatic rise in buzzwords since the early-1990s? That Wired Style Guide--published by Wired's book publishing arm HardWired--couldn't have helped anyone. It argued that jargon is *good*. Should they be held responsible for reparations--say, bundling a copy of Strunk & White's Elements of Style 3rd Edition along with Wired Style?
The current crop of e-business magazines (Fast Company, Business 2.0, The Industry Standard, etc.) have mastered the editorial voice of the
knowledgeable insider--the same voice pioneered by pop culture mags decades ago. Since they have to appeal to their audience of under-35 "e-preneurs" (gag) and older VCs who should know better, do you think we'll ever see plain English within their pages? Is there a way to force these mags to grow up, say, forcing the editors to read their own back issues so they can see how trendy and silly they sound in retrospect? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Just sign me,
Nostalgic for English in Canada

Thursday, October 19

Here's a model pitch. It came from a real flack in NYC who surfs long Island and knows his way around the wheels of steel.
" You know of course mobile computing will enable end-users or early adapter road-warrior knowledge workers pervasive access to mission critical corporate data anywhere, anytime. Think about it - trade stocks and take a dump at the same time. Have sex with your wife and still track that shipping order to Singapore. Or email your wife with a wireless device that sends from your work email address while you have sex with your girlfriend."
Talk about making pitches relevant!
Having re-read the message below and having done a bit more investigating as to the nature of Vice Magazine, I believe that the message posted on ProfNet was a hoax, a trick, a trap. Therefore, this Steve Jones, if he exists, or his creator deserves props for tossing that spanner into the PR machine.

Tuesday, October 3

As has been pointed out in the past, we in the press are often just as guilty as flacks of perpetuating buzzwords. But what in the name of Hanuman, the monkey deity, was this reporter thinking when he posted this to ProfNet?:
> **4. E-TAILING AND VORTAL DEVELOPMENT - VICE MAGAZINE. For a special
> technology supplement, I would like to talk to leaders in the dot.com
> industry about the best-of-breed, turnkey b-to-b solutions providers using
> the ASP model to leverage end-to-end click-and-mortars for e-tailing and
> vortal development. Vice is a free monthly magazine circulated throughout
> North America and England in clothing stores, music stores, coffee shops and
> other businesses. Need leads by October 29. >>> Steve Jones
> [c::9/26:2825]
Before we flog our first brother, we need to find out if this is for real. Anyone respond to this request? Or was this some sort of desperate attempt to get noticed by the Saw? Let us know.

Wednesday, September 27

I added a bran-spanky new buzz term to the Buzz Board today, bypassing the on-deck circle. The term is "architecting," a degenerate gerund derived from a non-existent verb.

Wednesday, August 30

Here, verbatim, is the subject line of an email received this morning: "Let's Talk Professional Services Supply Chain Apps.-- more specifically, Collections Management." Let's! What is it about subject lines that turns even the best PR professionals into buzzword-crazy hacks? Why not take a page from the NY Post, which today ran the headline "The Bride Wore Blues" over a story about newlyweds who left their gifts in the back of a cab? I'll read that.

Tuesday, August 29

Just received this from a PR director at a major telco:
> Please add "end user" to your list of horrific buzz words!
> I've hated it for 20 years and I still hate it today.
> What, I ask, is wrong with the word "customer?"
> Or, God forbid, "person?"
>
> I recently had the joy of editing a release that used the phrase
> "successful end user experience." You have to wonder ...
> do people who write like that ever have sex?
> And if they do ... do they consider an orgasm a
> "successful end user experience?"

Excellent points. We hate to inject morality in to the Buzz Saw, but shouldn't phrases like that be left in the bedroom? Consider "end user" officially banned.

Monday, August 28

As our consultants have told us many times, the Buzz Saw's core competency is in the thriving B2C buzzword space. However, when notified by one of our readers of a bizarre intraB buzzword, we couldn't help but post the letter. Read here to learn about the-soon-to-be-dreaded E>Tizing.

Tuesday, August 22

Added a page that shows where the site has been written about. It is too okay to end a sentence in a preposition, isn't it, Fight Club?

Also, the historical debate over the origin of the phrase "open the kimono" continues.

Tuesday, August 15

Added a new love letter to the letters page.
A follower has asked us to make "enterprise" a buzzword, noting, "It's a starship, not a way to define a product market."
Thoughts? send them to teeth@buzzkiller.net.

Tuesday, August 8

A reader writes: "Thank you for including 'solution(s)' as a buzzword that desperately needs to die. When I recently received a letter that used the word eleven times in 1-1/2 pages of text, I wrote the company in return and reminded them that another definition of 'solution' is something that is diluted or watered down. I then asked them if they appreciated having their products looked upon from that perspective.
The press certainly tends to proliferate buzzwords. I go crazy when I hear a journalist use the word 'literally' when he really means 'figuratively', for instance, which seems to happen a lot....
I believe that many use buzzwords to try to sound trendy and smart, but to me, they sound derivative and redundant. Thank you again for pointing out these overused terms"

You're welcome.
The following exchange provides a glimpse into the byzantine workings of the Buzz Saw filter and the ideology behind those workings. Bonus: some positive feedback from the Buzz Saw for a change.

>> From: "Andrew Sprung"
>> Organization: Andrew Sprung Public Relations
>> Reply-To: "Andrew Sprung"
>> Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 14:55:26 -0400
>> To: "The Buzz Saw"
>> Subject: Re: Giants crowd into e-comm services for small biz
>>
>>I believe the buzz saw is applied indiscriminately.
>
>Mr. Sprung,
>This is a serious charge indeed. The Buzz Saw is governed by a
>set of hand-crafted operational instructions which cause it to
>detect buzzwords and react. Ruthless, perhaps, but not
>indiscriminate.
>When the graphics-bloated page finishes downloading, you will see
>a list of terms that the Buzz Saw is instructed to regard as
>undesirable. One of the words,"rob*st," appears in your
>"Giants crowd into..." email. Another term, "best of bre*d,"
>appears in your "100,000 e-stores..." email (props to you,
>however, for lively use of the words "festooned" and "jacked").
We can't help but reminisce about the time USA Today declared us a Hot New Site (see 8/7/00 post). Sadly, the paper has since moved on to newer, hotter sites, leaving us off the list. It's true what The Boss says: "Glory day, it'll pass you by."
However, while Buzzkiller.net is no longer considered hot by the nation's paper of record, it will forever remain lukewarm thanks to the Hot New Site archive.

Monday, August 7

Just received this email: "Your web site is interesting - but would be more so if you offered alternatives for the words you so clearly hate -- jessica michaud, v.p. marketing and public relations, nex-i.com."
Jessica, we respectfully disagree: the purpose of buzzword eradication is not to replace one buzzword with another. However, in good faith, we offer this fix: Instead of "interactive," why not try "horse-drawn carriage"?
Welcome to the Inner Saw: the place where we let you know what's new at the Buzz Saw. To day's big news: we've added this page. Also, we've been selected by USA Today as a Hot
New Site
. The good fight continues.