Monday, December 8, 2008

Dorky words I use now that I'm a dork Internet manager

Soon after I left newspapers for online lo these many years ago, I noticed that the online people love to use ridiculous words to talk about ordinary things.

I'm trying to remember now what word it was the marketing lady at was always using -- I couldn't stop rolling my eyes at her.

But now, nearly a decade later, I'm using silly words left and right. At first, I used them to make fun of people. Then, I used them ironically. Then, I'd use them and think, hey, I just used that word -- not ironically. I'm a dufus just like that marketing lady.

Now, I just use them, and hardly even notice. The transformation is complete.

I can't remember if I've posted this before -- maybe so. But tonight I was thinking again what a silly talker I've become. And so, I thought I'd slap a few of my silly words together for your pleasure today:

1. Robust. As in "We need to create a robust user experience." Wouldn't good suffice here? I don't know. My mouth keeps saying robust. This was the word that was making me realize today what a silly talker I am.

2. UI. This isn't really a word, but I use it like it is. As in "that lady has bad UI." (as in, user interface.)

3. Effort. As in "We're going to effort that photo." If you say effort, then later, when you don't end up getting the photo, you're not in as bad of trouble as you would be if you had said you were going to get it, right? I got this from the news meetings at the PI. I really hate myself when I say this one. I mostly am able to stop myself.

4. Monetize. As in "we'll never monetize that!" (make money off it. Yeah. I know.)

5. Deploy. "We'll deploy that by March." Uh, yeah. Publish. Post. What have you.

6. Iterate. "We'll launch and then iterate." Um. Modify.

7. UGC. Yeah, I said it. User generated content. Stuff the readers posted.

8. Uniques. That's what we call readers now.

9. ROI. This is my personal ROLF.

10. Optimize. 'That person isn't really optimized." (Being put to highest and best use.)

Got some dorky terms you personally use? Let's hear 'em. Janice, let's get some good lawyer terms in here. Val -- I'll go for either techie or fly boy terms -- both if you got 'em.


Mark said...

Looks like you're over-optimizng your vocabulary with some under-robust UGC, and that makes for a pretty buggy UI.

I don't mind the acronyms, but deploying nouns as verbs is iterating words once too often for a positive ROI, imho. Unique it's not. Monetize it won't.

Effort some restraint, dufuswise. Dork.

kateco said...


Well not really OF, but L anyway.

Val said...

well, I was going to think about this awhile, and then it happened:

K: damn, what I need is at the other workstation

me: you need to VNC into there

K: I wish I could -- it's my wine that was over there.

This is really bad, because I just verbed a noun. VNC is a sort of screen-sharing utility that lets one interact with what's on the screen of a remote computer. I thought K meant her missing stuff was on the workstation Mac; of course, she meant the workstation desk. See? total dork.

I use this sort of jargon all the time: "I need to ssh/ftp/rdp/remote into that box"; each of those terms means something specific.

I generally don't mind jargon that's efficient, precise and meaningful -- usually technical jargon. I hate jargon that's vague, obscuring and evasive -- usually marketing jargon.

So, from your list below:
Good: UI, deploy, iterate, ROI
Bad: robust, effort, monetize, UGC
On the fence: uniques, optimize

Michelle said...

ooh. Good one. Dork question -- is VNC another way of saying VPN, or is that a form of VPN?

Jason Bellamy said...

Good list! I heart ROI.

As for me ... In my day job, which includes helping non-HTML-savvy staff post to our website via a content manager, I cringe every time I have to say "WYSIWG," pronounced "wizzy-wig," for "What You See Is What You Get" – as in the standard text view, rather than the HTML code version. It's impossible to say "wizzy-wig" and look cool. If Obama ever said it on the campaign trail, it would have been his Dukakis-in-a-tank moment.

And, kind of on the subject: I barf every time I hear "portal" and "Web 2.0," because if you ask 20 different geeks exactly what those terms mean, you’ll get as many different answers.

Janice said...

Lawyers try to act low tech, folksy and old fashion. We toss in latin, inter alia, among other things and junk like that. In Kentucky, lawyers also say weird old fashion stuff. If someone makes a bad argument, we say, with a completely straight face, "Judge that dog don't hunt." I'm not kidding, I've said it. and judges understand it. I've always assumed that any dog, given the option, would turn down a hunt, although most would run around in a pack and bark if allowed the chance.

Val said...

Nikki: close but not quite. A VPN is a virtual private network -- a network that's established on top of an existing physical network. The VPN can carry all sorts of traffic -- email, web, ftp, etc. -- it's said to be 'tunneled' through the physical network. Your programs communicate with each other over the VPN just as over a normal network.

VNC, OTOH, is a specific program for transmitting keyboard, mouse and screen updates from one machine to another. It can be used over a VPN, or directly over a normal network. You can use it instead of a VPN, or through an SSH tunnel, but it's not the same as a VPN. You're manipulating the remote computer more-or-less directly, like a puppet on a string.

But, VPNs often use screen-sharing software so you can use a program on a remote computer without running it on your local computer. Windows VPNs often use Remote Desktop, which is similar to VNC. So the *effect* of using a VPN can be similar to using VNC, but the VPN is not the screen-sharing program, it;s the underlying network connection.

Clear as mud, I suppose.

Jason, I'm with you -- WYSIWYG is dorky but meaningful. Web 2.0 and portal are both marketing terms, and are worse than meaningless -- they provide cover for people who don't understand what you're trying to achieve, couldn't deliver it with their product if they did, but still want your money.

Janice, with all respect to vegetarians, I think all dogs love to hunt, given the chance (tho they may not know how, thanks to being stunted by domestication). That's why "that dog don't hunt" is such a put-down -- must be a pretty old, weak, tired dog of an argument!

Janice said...

Here's another one: Instead of saying, "Oh, yeah? Well, you breached the contract, too!" Lawyers say, "your honor, the plaintiff has unclean hands." Not dirty hands, mind you, but unclean ones. It's even an affirmative defense to be plead most formally in an answer to a lawsuit.

Mark said...

Awesome thread.

Val, you don't comment often but when you do, like most rare things, your contributions are priceless.

freda said...

OK Val, I will go back and read it again, maybe this time steam won't come out of my ears in the middle.

Rita said...

Interesting how brains flock together, like birds.

mich said...

Oh, yikes. About the only thing I can say is that I'm proud of you for fessing up, Michelle. Now: What kind of 12-step program can we come up with for you?

Just please tell me you haven't started using "drill down." That's my personal pet peeve from my days covering Microsoft.

Michelle said...

Funny you should ask. Someone at work did say today "we need to drill down on these pages now." I nodded. I didn't say the words myself, but I nodded, so I guess I'm culpable.

Gina the mainstream indie chick. said...


I'm so Indie.