When someone spits out a jumble of acronyms, abbreviations and technical terms have you ever scratched your head and wondered what in the world they were talking about? Have you ever wondered if they know themselves? Ask. I do and I’ve found that the ability to give an explanation simply and concisely, is often a good indicator of skill level, if you know what you are doing there is no need to hide behind technical terms or over complicate things.
In my experience, in worst case scenarios this technical doublespeak is used to conceal ineptitude, to spin, distort or hide the truth, at best it’s an indicator of inflexibility and overconfidence in the familiarity of an audience with terms used in a specialized field of knowledge. A wonderful article on the subject can be found here: “Alienating the Audience: How Abbreviations Hamper Scientific Communication” by Andrew H. Hales, Kipling D. Williams and Joel Rector.
Those of you who are familiar with my work know I enjoy playing with words that are the same but have different meanings in different contexts, the word ‘string’ to a physicist has a different meaning entirely than it does to a musician. This can result in wonderfully humorous (just ask Abbot & Costello) or thought provoking repartee, drawing parallels between seemingly disparate ideas, or demonstrating the extent of misunderstanding possible by showing different perspectives using the same words.
Internet based communication will always be subject to interpretation from the perspective of the reader, unless usage is deliberate, wouldn’t it be better to clarify as much as possible so everyone can understand what we’re trying to say? This holds true as much for evolving fields of technology as it does for business in general.
If there is interest I would like to share my notes translating digital marketing concepts into everyday language with posts under the heading “Digital Agora”.
“Agora” – The ancient Greek word for market and meeting place where tradesmen and artisans come together to sell their work and discuss the news of the day.
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