Buzzword Bingo

, 2016-05-02

In IT we suffer from at least two sources of jargon: computing and management. I say suffer, but sometimes jargon can be a real boon when carefully used in the right context. For example, in a discussion here on SQLServerCentral I would readily accept someone using the acronym, VM, or the term "encryption" without defining them. Given the technical context, these are commonly used communication shortcuts. However, there would be no shame, and definitely nothing wrong, with someone asking for clarification. If someone in a community doesn't know these terms, this would be one way to find out and would aid future communication.

Sometimes acronyms and, more commonly, phrases are used where the meaning is unclear or seems less than appropriate. Perhaps it is a pointless variation to us thereby disguising the intended meaning. When this happens, the usage doesn't aid communication but can cause a distraction. If we are asking, or even considering, what the meaning is, then we have already let slip the thread of discussion in our own heads. This can only be a bad thing. Or at least I certainly think so.

Do you think that this is a problem? What phrases do you think are most commonly misused? Is this due to misunderstanding what the phrase originally meant or is it just jargon for the sake of it? Does it vary upon the form of communication, e.g. does it matter whether if the acronym was said in person or sent in an email?

Whilst there is a danger that this discussion can become a rant, it will be interesting to see what phrases people find confusing or a distraction. It is possible that some of us will recognise that we have taken to using phrases that are not aiding communication. This could be something that would help us improve our communication skills or, perhaps, just a great takeaway?

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