Are social media buzzwords a necessary evil?


My friend Christopher Barger is releasing a book later this year and in a recent post on Facebook, he asked his marketing colleagues “In your opinion, the most overused A-list social media buzzwords.”

Christopher received a slew of comments with dozens of words being submitted and among the most overused words,

While I am growing tired of hearing these words over and over, based on the people that chimed in on Christopher’s post, most were people who either use social media tools professionally or speak at industry conferences about social media marketing.  So, these buzzwords are not buzzwords to the majority of folks who don’t practice social media professionally. 

There’s a lot of room for education in the social media industry, especially for the people who are seeking to learn more.  Consider the diversity of attendees at social media industry conferences with all not social media professionals therefore, we are among the few advanced practioners in the room. 

I agree that many of these overused words feel worn out to social media professionals because many folks just regurgitate what they heard at the last SxSW conference.  Unfortunately, buzzwords may be a necessary evil in marketing and public relations, as those in the thick of these industries use the terms often to pitch clients, promote products/services and may have a difficult time formulating a concise way to describe social media that both captures client interest and meets client goals.  I’d like to see a social media marketing pitch that doesn’t use the word “engage.”  Seriously. My email is Jessica at socialmediaclub dot org. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used all the above words many times especially when describing social media to folks who have never used the tools or are just becoming acquainted with how social media can help their business.  I think buzzwords establish a level of familiarity to those who are new to the bubble and hopefully, in time, they’ll discover new ways of describing how businesses and people are becoming more social without having to use words like “engaged” or “authentic.”

Do you think the social media industry will outgrow buzzwords or are they a necessary evil?