Most hated words

Last week, Nate Anderson had a funny piece in Ars Technica on the 10 most hated words spawned by the Internet.

UK pollsters YouGov have just completed a survey on the web’s most-hated words, the abominations that threaten to turn English into a long series of “plzkthxbye” utterances. At the top of the list (and rightly so) is the word “folksonomy.” It’s followed by:

  • Blogosphere
  • Blog
  • Netiquette
  • Blook (don’t ask)
  • Webinar
  • Vlog
  • Social Networking
  • Cookie
  • Wiki

To those I’d like to add the most hated prefixes “i,” “e-,” and “cyber.” Enough already. The most hated suffix, or trailing adjective, is doubtlessly “2.0.” Personally, vlog has always been my least favorite. What idiot coined that term? Vlog should be an onomatopoeia for feline vomit. Though most of what passes for a vlog pretty much meets my preferred usage.

This got me thinking about what are my least favorite video terms making it into our 21st century lexicon. My list:

  1. TV snacking I first heard this insipid term spew forth from the CEO of MobiTV. Are they gone yet? Television is not to be confused with sustenance.
  2. Appointment television This one is only hated in its misuse. It was originally used to describe specific shows such as Seinfeld, Friends, and The Sopranos. These were the shows that you scheduled your life around. Today there are very few such shows – less due to TiVo than to generally crappiness of what’s on. Believe me – people still want to sit in front of the set for six hours a day. There are still shows such as Lost (which I don’t get) and Desperate Housewives (which I don’t like) that are talked about the next day around the proverbial water cooler. Now the term is used as some sort of tribal slang for all broadcast fare.
  3. Democratization This is a term only used by people with no understanding of markets. Wonderful tools like Final Cut Pro and Red One, along with disintermediating technologies like IPTV, are said to be democratizing production. That’s a euphenism for “cheapening.” It’s not about spreading democracy, it’s about commoditizing formerly expensive niche products. Is Wal-Mart a force for democratization of disposable diapers? I didn’t think so, let’s move on.
  4. User-generated content I hear this from executives all the time. There’s no vision of what this content actually is, what the presentation layer will look like, or how it will be curated; but damn YouTube’s doing it so we have to too. Do you have Google’s billions to throw at it waiting for it to make money? Thought so. Sorry, gotta do it the old-fashioned way – write a story, shoot it, and edit it. It’s work. There are no short cuts. User generated content might be free, but distributing it isn’t. As Google’s learning, Proctor and Gamble isn’t going to spend millions advertising next to twelve second video of a parakeet surfing in a toilet. (By the way, it’s not surfing. It’s dead.)

Fun with buzzwords. Ask the next person you hear use “long tail” in a sentence not about lemurs what the phrase means. Record it, add a laugh track, and post it to YouTube. Now that’s user-generated content!

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