Silicon “Valleyspeak” is alive and well — and eroding the language

Posted: April 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

This post appeared April26 in The Write Stuff, the jargon-free blog of Write Angle — Silicon Valley’s premiere technology writing and content agency for the IT industry.

Now in our third decade of technology marketing in Silicon Valley, we’ve been exposed to our unfair share of linguistically challenged content and mind numbing jargon. So you’d think we’d be de-sensitized by now. But a recent email containing some truly cringe-worthy terminology, even by Valley standards, really gagged us. It read like a Saturday Night Live lampoon of techies.

No matter how many times we call it out, tortured business language continues to pollute even the simplest communications.  Like ivy and acronyms, it keeps coming back.

Must have been the use of “onboarding” that set us off.  Not exactly a new term but does the English language we really need another ham-handed concept to convey “a systematic and comprehensive approach to orienting a new employee to help them ‘get on board’”?  What happened to “hiring” or “orientation”?

We’re comforted in the knowledge that we are not alone in our disdain for “jargon-slingers”.  And props to Christopher Steiner for coining that term.  Steiner authored  The Most Annoying Business Jargon , an astute and witty article that takes the business world to task for “cutting its anchors to the English language.” Recommended reading.

We’ve all heard this lingo in meetings and winced. We read it on websites, press releases, and been helplessly subjected to it in conference presentations. But accept it? No way. At least not at Write Angle.

To quote Steiner, “Let the jargon slinger know that you know who they are:  a vapid, message-clouding, English-avoiding, communications nightmare.” We couldn’t have said it better.

What SV-speak do you hear around your cubes or watering holes these days that cause you to cringe? What do you do to stamp it out?

When he’s not ranting on this site, Stan DeVaughn blogs on The Write Stuff with his agency partner, Peter Davé.


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