One of my favorite comedians is Louis CK. One day when I wasn’t feeling too good I found his show Hilarious on Netflix and I gave it a watch. Turned out to be rather brilliant. There are a few main threads in the show, but it gets its name from a section where Louis talks about word usage. He notes that “hilarious” means that something is so funny it could literally cause you to be hysterical. Is what you just called “hilarious” really HILARIOUS? Probably not. This show comes to mind almost every day as I surf the online waters. It’s so easy to type words, and without facial expressions or vocal intonation, it’s easy to use words casually as if their impact is non-existent.
Well, today I’m serving as your Jiminy Cricket – that voice in your head that makes you stop and ponder. I’ve come up with 40 words and phrases that I see online all of the time, and I think people don’t really calculate the impact they have, especially if you can’t back up these particular words with actual actions and knowledge. I am protesting, in other words. So without further adieu, the 40 words and phrases I’d love to never see online ever again (unless you REALLY mean them).
Words of self-aggrandizement
1. Guru – You’re a masterful teacher? Are you sure?
2. Master – You don’t look like He-Man…
3. Expert – What does being a Twitter expert mean? Can you tweet “140 at a time” better than anyone else?
4. Specialist – This one might not be too bad, but again, you should back it up. If you’re a marketing specialist, you should be able to define words like “brand,” for example.
5. Ninja – So, you’re a covert or feudal mercenary agent from feudal Japan? Alright then.
6. Jedi –I knew Yoda, sir. And no Yoda are you. You’re not even green and fuzzy.
7. Pro – Is there a Professional Marketing League (PML) we don’t know about for Pro Marketers? Sounds more like a fantasy league.
“I do not think this word means what you think it means” words
8. Transparency – This does not mean sharing every pimple on your butt.
9. Authenticity – This does not mean showing pictures of your life to show how great it is.
10. Engaging – This does not mean “Just talking to peeps” or in many cases “down” to peeps.
11. Conversation – This does not mean you tweeting or Facebooking AT people (although the @ sign in Twitter does make this confusing, I’ll admit)
12. Community – Not the same thing as a clique that benefits the few. Watch Heathers for clarification.
13. Human – I know, it seems weird that I would want to see this word banned, but I think people have used this word so often online we’ve actually forgotten how to be, well, human. I’d rather the species than the word, if given a choice.
Made up online words
14. Caturday – I’m all for cute kittens, but this word makes my skin crawl. So would Dogurday.
15. Klout – I know, it’s not just a word, it’s a state of mind. Still…
16. LOL – It has had a GREAT run. Let it retire.
17. Kred – See Klout
18. #Anything #with #a #hashtag – Can anyone explain to me why we need to #hashtag words like #thanks on #Twitter?
19. Influencer – Granted, this is a real word. However, and I say this with all love and compassion, the online world has made it gross
Strings of Innocent Words that Become Punishable Phrases
20. Said no one ever – Possibly chortle funny the first time, the number of memes I’ve seen with these words is beyond my capacity to count now.
21. I know, right? – OK, I’ve even used this one a few times. But it needs to stop. I’ve quit cold turkey. So can you.
22. No offense but… – Have you ever seen someone start a sentence that way and then NOT say something offensive? It’s like the Midwest version of “Bless her heart.” Just be mean already!
23. Is the mayor of… – Do you really want me to know that you’re the mayor of the toilet paper store? If so, why?
24. Is at… – OK, maybe I’m just anti-Foursquare, but seriously, I don’t need to know where you are every waking minute. These two seemingly banal words fill my online world and make me sad.
25. Has poked you – Do I need to explain this one?
26. Is Dead – If one more thing is declared dead (print, email, marketing, advertising, the web, the world) – I might have to shoot a unicorn. Speaking of which…
27. Return on… – Marketing talk will be more difficult without these two words, but if we just stick with ROI I think it’ll be easier. Return on Ignorance, Influence, Idiocy, or whatever else people come up with is just, well, it needs to stop.
28. Is a douchebag! – I’ve always thought it was interesting that it’s mostly men who use this insult. You know why? Women know exactly what this insult means, and it’s too crude for us!
29. Haters gonna hate! – I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this over my short interlude in the online world, but it’s too many. Dismissing people who disagree with you in this manner, well, it makes me feel…hateful!
30. Thought Leader – This one creeps me out to be honest. Are we the Borg, here to absorb your thinking? Bah!
31. Mommy/Daddy Blogger – Why do we have to use the diminutive for these folks? Especially in the case of women, the phrase “mommy blogger” just seems to place powerful online women into a category everyone can feel more comfortable with.
32. I #Followback – Have you encountered a Twitter account that had this in the bio and was not a total spam account?
Words and Phrases That Are Just Plain Tired
33. Forms of “Rock” – “You Rock!”….”Rockin’ the <fill in the blank>. Kurt Cobain would say “Smells Like Fake Spirit.”
34. Awesome – This is another word that Louis CK attacks. Awesome = to be filled with awe. Are you sure that person or thing fills you with awe?
35. A-Lister – How many blog posts are there that use this in the subject line, for good or ill? LOTS.
36. Personal Brand – Can we find another way to say that we are tweeting a lot about ourselves and our stuff?
37. Un-whatever – OK, I know this started with a book title, and that was clever and cool. I’d like to undo this prefix now, please.
38. Content Marketing – Is there nothing else to do? And speaking or which…
39. Content is King – Where’s the prince already? Hasn’t something else take up the reign yet?
40. That quote from Thomas Edison about how much he failed – It’s sure to get you a lot of RTs, but golly. Didn’t anyone else experience failure apart from him?
Well, there you have it. Forty words and phrases I’d love to see no more (after this). You know this is just the tip of the iceberg! What would you add?