Words That Must Die in 2009

As this is the end of the year, we are required by some unwritten law to go through certain exercises. Among those are a required “predictions” post, certain holiday-related posts and of course, like last year, a list of words that have been so overused in the past year that we hope they will die a tortured, cruel death in 2009.

  • Change – the buzzword of the 2008 Presidential election. It has become a mantra for utopian-loving citizens everywhere.
  • Meta – Meta is a word to describe descriptive data of descriptive data. Or, better, it is the abstraction of something more well known. It is a catch phrase to describe something as simple as, for instance, one photographer taking a picture of another photographer taking a picture. It is rather difficult to describe because it is so meta.
  • Rock Star – a description of a minor celebrity or demigod, usually in the web space. These are individuals who carry some personal reputation and weight in only their circle but remain relatively unknown “in the real world”. Also describes the blogosphere’s “A List” of top tier bloggers. I, for instance, am a rock star.
  • Cloud – a technology that takes data and operations out of a simple peer to peer concept of client and server, and places it in a massive grid on the internet. Cloud computing is usually powered by Amazon S3 or EC2, Google App Engine or the new Microsoft Azure platform.
  • fail
    Products built “in the cloud” are generally known to buzzword junkies in PR as SaaS (“Software as a Service”).

  • Bailout – By far the biggest word that must die, in word and in deed, is bailout. No explanation necessary as you must be living under a rock if you don’t know what I’m talking about!
  • Ubiquitous – this word tends to revolve in the same orbit as “Cloud”. It is a buzz word often used to describe web services that are always available and tends to apply in the world of mobile. Ubiquitous ensures that everyone can get to everything at any time or any place. And it needs to die.
  • FAIL – This is shortform for the obvious meaning. If something is unsuccessful or stupid on it’s face it is just plain FAIL. Made popular by the Failblog, it has become a common part of geek culture and lingo.

As a bonus, Twitter seems to think “Oh, you know Aaron?” is overused in conjunction with people meeting other random people that know me. :-)

Thanks to everyone who helped me assemble this list!

Additional: Transparency. This has come up in a variety of way. In politics and government circles, the Sunlight Foundation has made a lot of progress (and noise) on the Transparency in government front. In PR, communications people are striving to be “more transparent” online. Regardless of which form of transparency, people need to talk less about it and do more of it. :)

Words that Need to Die in 2008

First of all, Happy New Year everyone. Now that we’re into 2008 and folks are heading back to work, I sincerely hope you are settling back in. I still have a long way to go, even though I’ve eliminated over 1000 unread emails and have about 450 to go. I figured it was time for a break to write this entry.

Lake Superior State University came out with their annual list of Words to be Banished from 2007. It’s always fun to read these and cringe when you see words that I use. Words and phrases like “organic” or “[blank] is the new [blank]” (I wrote two posts of the latter variety last year – i is the New e and g is the New i. Guilty as charged.

I’ll follow suit and list some of my own choices for words or phrases to be banned. Note that some of these can be found EASILY at the Web 2.0 Bullshittr.

  • Hyperlocal: the idea that a site or service focuses on geographically local results or interests.
  • Verticals: businesses describe verticals as tightly focused markets that show potential for growth.
  • Conversation: Loren Feldman said it best.
  • Ecosystem: a word that I admittedly use a lot. Ecosystem describes the way blogs, social networks and communities evolve together. An unbalanced ecosystem is one where something comes in and destroys the status quo that we all are comfortable with
  • Evolve: I used it above. Point made.
  • Widgets: Does anyone really understand what a widget is anymore? A widget is not a “thingy” as it has become understood. A widget is not any sidebar module. A widget is not a LinkedIn badge. A widget is a piece of third party, or more accurately external, code that displays interactive information. Or take Red Hat’s definition if you don’t believe me.
  • Social Graph: Stop, stop, STOP!

What are your nominations for words of 2007 to be banned?