Life. Then Strategy

Words that you social media and agency types need to stop killing


I’m starting this list with 8 of my least favourite word-deaths. Wonder if we can get it to 50. Please add yours with a smart one-sentence point after it in the comments below.

1. Drive
Apparently, in advertising, you can drive everything: awareness, consideration, preference, trial, conversion, value, emotional connection, acquisition… I don’t want to get in my car any more because the word ‘drive’ has been so molested by so many of you.

2. Relevancy
Now, if you have an American accent and use this word, I will curdle. Of course, you want to ‘drive relevancy’… but, seriously, what the hell does that mean? And, is ‘relevancy’ even a word? It just feels made up… like ‘self-orientated’ and ‘presentate’.

3. Influence
Big fan of ‘influence’… I’ve even written about it in my online communities lessons thing. But, let’s face it: you’re killing this word right now. Stabbing it. Daily. Hundreds of times. Too many of you are pretending you have a silver bullet and can quantify it. Too many of you are dropping it into a conversation… just because you can… but you can’t actually discuss it. Stop hurting it!

4. -ability
Ah, yes, a suffix that makes me laugh out loud then punch myself in the chest. Permissability. Sociability. Talkability. Speakability. Sessionability. Someone out there probably even uses ‘drive-ability’. The list goes on. These. Are. Not. Real. Words. If you just want to make up words, make up cool words like ‘anonymosity‘. In your face – I made that one up! Stalkernomics – bam, did it again!

5. Social media
This term sucks as much as ‘Web 2.0’. It gets used like ‘digital’ does when you’re in a big meeting looking at a huge media schedule with millions of dollars of spend… and the magazines and their covers are nicely presented, the TV shows and their stars are called out… and then there’s this dirty line at the bottom of the spreadsheet that nobody can see and the media person glosses over… “Oh yeah we’ll do some digital stuff too”. Please, sir, can I have some ‘social media’? Stop. Killing. It.

6. Empower
OMG. This one makes me break out in teenage-internet geek acronyms. FTW? Backwards even. Please, if we have a meeting… do not tell me your brand empowers me to do anything. Your product may help me cut my steak but that’s it. It’s not empowering me to have a more meatiful life. Dont. Do. It.

7. Engagement
I flirted with this one when it was a virgin but then too many of you queued up to get a piece of the action. I think this gets used when people want to say: “We have a campaign that doesn’t involve talking down to people and blinding them with starbursts.” C’mon, let this little lady become pretty again so I can date her.

8. Integration
When a large agency uses this word it means their agency is broken. It does not mean that the agency functions in an integrated way. It means that there is a middle person who talks nicely to one department then passes the baton to another department that they have to work with because it’s in the contract. The word ‘integration’ is now also broken.

Can we get to 50? Write your favourites below with a simple explanation.
I’ll give you 2 more to play with: Greenfield. Step-change.
Please clean up your language. Un-taint my beauties.

Photo courtesy of libraryman.

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