Is language hip and catchy? If you look at the language used in job vacancies, online campaigns and advertisements, you will notice that many of them use lots of trendy words in order to make the message more impressive. This type of hip language is becoming ever more popular, but if you take a good look at the message, the words are mostly empty. Essentially, buzzwords don’t really mean anything. This article takes a look at what buzzwords are exactly, the situations they are commonly used in, and how they come into being.
Buzzwords are generally linked to a new invention, or some new methodology or trend. Buzzwords are not specific to a single subject or product, but have very broad applications. And that is why they have such vague meanings. There often very specific buzzwords that people think will become ‘successful’.
Some examples of well-known buzzwords include ‘manager’ and ‘on demand’. The term ‘manager’ cannot really be considered a buzzword anymore, because it has become part of our everyday language. However, what is interesting is that the word ‘manager’ says absolutely nothing about the specific tasks and responsibilities that are part of the job in question.
Buzzwords are euphemistic
If you want to avoid a direct response or mask a certain message, you can use a variety of buzzwords to do so. Buzzwords are often used to ‘soften’ certain messages. The word ‘discourage’ is a good example, as it sounds friendlier and less direct. Using buzzwords basically allows you to make the message appear much nicer than it actually is.
Buzzwords are often used in specific areas of expertise, tasks at work, personal traits and certain roles. Buzzwords can make a position sound extra appealing and interesting. They are often used in vacancies and job descriptions to make the more enticing. Channels like LinkedIn are rife with buzzwords that are used to describe people’s skills and traits. Whether this development is good is up for debate, because most buzzwords say next to nothing about a person’s skills.
Buzzwords are also very popularly used in advertisements or descriptions for technical products in order to make them more appealing. This is extremely common with computers, phones and mobile devices. Some of the buzzwords used for those products include ‘plug and play’, ‘on demand’ and ‘portal’.
Buzzwords are also frequently utilized for management methods. By now you have probably come across ‘innovation management’, ‘creation management’ or ‘floor management’. They appear all the time in job titles. They are supposed to make the jobs seem interesting, even though most jobs aren’t nearly that exciting in reality.
Topics related to marketing feature the heaviest use of buzzwords, however. After all, buzzwords have to make the product or service much more appealing to the customer. This is why advertisement are often loaded with buzzwords to spice up the product description. Nowadays, if buzzwords aren’t used in advertisements or campaigns, they may almost come across as dated. Nobody wants to have or buy a product without a few bells and whistles.
To answer the question
To get back to our main question; buzzwords are used because they can make a product, service or position much more appealing than it really is, even though the buzzword in question is non-specific and doesn’t really offer any added value. The reason is simple. People would rather deal with exciting texts and products, which is why marketers and companies in general make such liberal use of buzzwords. They simply conceal the (occasionally) harsh reality. The need to make everything seem more appealing than it is in reality is a basic human trait, and easily explains why buzzwords are so frequently used in advertisements, vacancies and statements in various media.