12 irritating social media words and phrases

If you’re a real ‘influencer’ in the social media world, please keep it that way by avoiding that term—and these 11 others.

Dear world of social media,

Hi, how are you? Good, good. Well, I’m here because I have a huge favor to ask of you. I’m literally typing this on bended knee, which is kind of silly because you can’t see it. You’ll just have to trust me. This is really painful.

I’m on bended knee because I am begging you, I am pleading with you, to please retire the following 12 words and phrases. They want to go down to bathe in Florida’s glorious sun. They want to play shuffleboard.

1. Influencer

What does this word mean? Do you shake hands with people at a conference and say, “Hi, I’m an influencer?” Whom or what are you influencing? And how do you know? Do you check with people and say, “You’re doing that because of me, aren’t ya? Awwww yeah!” I am perplexed and confused, but most of all, I’m just tired of this word. Let’s get rid of it.

2. Authentic

Let’s take a dose of truth serum. Authenticity is dead. When you have ghost tweeters, ghost G-Plussers, and just plain phantasmic events in the online world, authenticity is not at a premium. If you are authentically what other people think you should be, or authentically what you think other people want you to be, you are not really being authentic. I think we can toss this word out. Maybe we can give it to Goodwill and they can pass it along to folks who could use it, if that makes you feel better.

3. Fake it ’til you make it

What does this mean? Fake it ’til you make it, but we need to be authentic. Hmm. Can someone help me out here? Also, if you’re a business person, announcing that you are or were, “Faking it ’til you make it,” is not something you want to put on your LinkedIn profile or your CV or your Twitter bio or your company website. Am I right—or am I missing something here?

4. Be awesome

This was very motivational the first time it was used. Then, it went viral, and now you run into this recommendation everywhere. Hey, I’m already awesome. What now? That’s what I say, anyway.

5. Transparency

Much like authenticity, the use of the words “transparency” and “transparent” in the online world has run its course. It’s transparently obvious that a lot of people have lost track of what this word means. It’s not reporting the results of your colonoscopy. TMI, meet transparency. Go have beers.

6. A-lister

Are you tired of hearing about A-listers? I want to know who the B-listers and C-listers are. And where am I in this alphabet? I think we can go ahead and take the hyphen out and return “a-lister” to that from which it came, to wit, “a lister (n): one who makes lists. ex. Santa Claus.”

7. A-hole

Closely related to A-lister in usage is the colorful use of the word a-hole, except that most folks in the online world do not take care to hyphenate. Calling someone a donkey-hole would at least be a variance, but there are so many other great insults to hurl at people. Here, watch.

“So and so is such a frickin’ hamster.”

“Yeah, those guys smell of elderberries.”

I’m calling you out, you carrot-head!”

See? I mean, the possibilities are endless. Give a-hole a break. It has put in its time for you. Boy, that sounds gross, doesn’t it?

8. D-bag

I find it interesting that it’s mostly men who use this word to demean others. In any case, please see No. 7 for other ideas on how you can offend people in disgusting ways. As a side note, I think it would be awesome if I saw an uptick in the word “poop-head” in the blogosphere.

9. Haters and/or haters gonna hate

See also: “drinkin’ the haterade.” Am I the only one who envisions a Sci-Fi show where a new race of alien is discovered call “The Haters?” Who are these people? People who disagree with you?

If so, I’d like to bring in some more high-brow and interesting wording. For example, contrarians. That’s kind of high-brow, right? Contrarians just gonna be contrary. It works. It has that hard cacophonous alliteration going for it. Haters gonna hate sounds like something you’d hear on a playground—a really silly playground.

10. Calling or calling out

Whenever I see tweets or blog posts that say, “I’m calling you out,” or “calling BS,” I imagine a bunch of really sharply dressed people at a business conference saying that to each other. Then moving into a game of Red Rover.

We get it. You want to trash somebody. You’re not really “calling them out.” You’re on your blog, and they may not even see it. Also, if you have to announce that you’re calling someone out, you may need to strengthen your calling out a bit more. I am just tossing ideas here, just tossing ideas.

11. F-bombs ahoy

In my offline world, I have no problem with people talking however they want to talk, but somehow, use of the F-word in the online world has evolved into, “Wow, that person has cojones.”

It does not take cojones to use yucky language online. It just takes a touch of bravado, a pinch of insensitivity, and a dash of, “Ount care what nobody thinks o’ this.” Why not use words or phrases like “fudge-sickle” or “flying foondangle?” Again, it’s much more colorful and creative than dropping F-bombs all over my personal space. Yo.

12. Is dead

How many more things must we consign to death? Advertising, printing, print, marketing, B2B, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, the Internet, the world—it’s downright depressing and silly, don’t you think? It kind of lost its power and shock value after the 70th thing was consigned to death, and I think that happened on April 5, 2007. Let’s let “is dead” play some golf and enjoy its waning years.

What other words and phrases could you do without in the world of social media?

Marjorie Clayman is the resident blogger at www.margieclayman.com and the resident librarian at www.thebloglibrary.com. She works for her family’s marketing firm, Clayman Advertising, Inc., where she represents the third generation of the Clayman family. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.

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