Made-up words were in abundance during this fall's software conference season. Your dauntless reporter traveled the world to bring back the latest in tech marketing speak. If you want to sound like you're current with today's dubious jargon, here's a quick primer to get you all caught up.
This fall’s conference season has been brutal. I think all the cloud/mobile/social headiness has sent tech marketers, PR firms and others into a frenzy making up or butchering words. They’re making nouns into verbs. They’re embedding one word into another. It’s linguistic hell out there!
Marketers make up words all the time. Remember: Cornthenticity, Wessonality, Meelg, Stroftier, Peanutier, Jifference, and Juicealicious? Tech marketers do the same thing. Some continue to overuse and abuse these words and phrases for years. It seems no matter how many times Jon Reed and I tweet about these abuses, they keep giving and giving. Why just last year, we heard countless expressions of “Thank you for your leadership” and “We’re all in”. If you’re grooving still to these phrases, be sure to include #TYFYL in your next tweet.
Now, if you want to sound like you went to all the big and small tech shows this fall, here are the new words and phrases you’ll want to incorporate into the next conversation you have with your boss, your favorite IT staff, your integrator, etc. Use these a lot, and people will think you’re the coolest tech person around (even if you’re still using a clamshell cell phone).
Integrate-ability: The new applications a vendor recently acquired don’t have to be integrated with their other products, they just have to have ‘integrate-ability’ with the old apps. That’s right - they only need to possess the technical ability to be integrated. Why ask for integrated apps when you can get apps with ‘integrate-ability’!
Omnichannel: You aren’t hip unless you use omnichannel as a verb. Now, old school e-commerce types know omnichannel started as a noun. It described a world where buyers could shop, research and purchase items across a wide spectrum of channels (i.e., online, mobile, in-store, etc.). But now, advanced digital commerce consultants want “to omnichannel your websites and retail operations”. When Jon Reed first mentioned this conjugation to me, I think I shifted my paradigm.
Wikify: When I first heard this, I thought it meant to put a blog into a blender and hit the puree button. Now, I’m seeing the real meaning of wikify: After a busy day of slamming code, you’ll want to document all those code changes. But, telling your friends and colleagues that you spent the last two hours of work today ‘documenting’ code changes sounds so old-fashioned. Doesn’t it sound way cooler to say that you ‘wikified’ your work? I know that’s what I’m doing right now.
Periods: Will.i.am has been putting periods in his musician name for years. Well, he was at DreamForce announcing his new digital wristwatch thing and it’s got periods all in it, too. I really wanted to pen this piece with thousands of extra periods in the middle of words but the editors at ZDNet threw a fit about it. They would only let me do that to one sentence. Ho.w.ever, plea.se fe.el free to ad.d a c.ouple of hun.d.red pe.riods to t.hat next me.mo you s.end to yo.ur boss!
Automagical: Seems like everyone this year has re-worked their mobile user experience. I saw five or so vendors with new mobile front-ends last week alone. But prettier screens aren’t enough. The input fields have to be smart enough that values automagically fill themselves in. It’s as if the great David Copperfield has designed these new screens!
Modality: Yes, modality is real word. But, use it five times in five minutes and I get the impression that you’re trying to start a trend. This word is starting to get a lot of traction in the last few weeks with two different tech marketers overusing the daylights out of it. You’ll want to start using it right away so that it sounds like you started this phenomenon! I know I’ve already altered my existence by introducing a new modality into every conversation.
As they say on late night infomercials “But wait, there’s more!!”
This month’s Inc. magazine is chock full of words you’ll want to sneak into the next team meeting, too. The October 2014 issue has pearls like:
Smartify: This word appears proudly in a Samsung advertisement. Just saying this word has already made me feel smarter. But why stop with smartify? Let's conjugate the daylights out of it. Can you say 'smartification'? I'd like to be the first to define it as the act of making things smarter (as in making internet of thing devices 'smarter').
Data Lakes: Why have a data repository, data base or data warehouse? A data lake is so much larger. I’m holding out for a data ocean for my firm where I’ll fish for killer data orcas! Watch out for those Loch Data Monsters!
Subscribable: I thought this was a cloud-specific term. Apparently, tech linguists apply this term to making an old-school industry (like groceries) into a repeatable, subscription event. In other words, how can businesses make everything a recurring, profitable event for them? If we’re going to have this word, we also need “One-time-able”, too!
Chatvertising: According to Inc., this occurs when people are chatting up a bot. Christopher Mims documented this word in the Wall Street Journal in July this year. I sure felt like I got chatvertised during the vendor briefings at a lot of the software conferences this year. Next chance you get, say to someone important “Hey, why don’t you have your bot call my bot?”
Even colleague Frank Scavo tipped me to a new term this week: Light Up. Yes, Frank's been subjected to software marketers telling him how their product, when used with another solution, simply lights up the application.
And this month's Wired highlighted another new word: precrastinate. It's even getting some Google love (see below).
Oh, my head’s going to explode. I think I’d rather have good old-fashioned three letter acronyms (TLAs) instead of all of this made up gibberish. I sort of wrote a primer on that last year .
Well, as we bring this piece to a close, practice saying this over and over. It’ll help you wow the boss like nothing else you’ve ever said:
“First of all, Boss, I’d like to thank you for your leadership. Second, you know how we’re like all-in the cloud in a subscribable, futureproofed kind of way? Well, I was thinking that when we light up and omnichannel our newest division and wikify our content, we should also shift to a new modality that brings integratability to our customers’ webtastic experiences. Only then can we maximize their user experience as they navigate our immense data lakes. So, what do you think? Should we precrastinate on this? Or, do we so-mo-glo and smartify the daylights out of our bot-driven chatvertisements?”
Oh, and don’t forget to change your name on your employee ID badge to: Y.our Nam.e Her.e