12 words that need to die in 2012

Make it a point to purge words like “revolutionary,” “innovative” and “game-changing” from your vocabulary.

Every industry has buzzwords. If you are short on content for a case study or presentation, or are speaking on a topic you’re not entirely comfortable with, it’s easy to pull out those “cool-sounding words” in an attempt to wow your audience.

But some of these buzzwords are overabundant. Here are 12 words I hope every PR pro, marketer and advertiser will erase from their vocabulary in 2012.

1. Synergy

What does synergy even mean? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the term in news conferences and read it in press releases and articles.

2. Klout or +K

Good old Klout. Its quasi-mysterious algorithm attempts to quantify influence. But, you really can’t quantify influence—at least not yet.

3. Jack of all trades

I’ve had a problem with this one since my days in journalism school, mainly because everyone who says they are a jack of all trades really isn’t. It’s usually a cleverly disguised excuse to glorify mediocrity.

4. Innovation/innovator/innovative

Just because you call yourself an innovator doesn’t mean you are one.

5. Ninja/guru/expert/jedi/visionary/chief unicorn chaser

The list is endless. People can call themselves whatever they want, but these colorful titles mean absolutely nothing without additional context.

6. Revolutionary

The Civil War was revolutionary. Women’s suffrage was revolutionary. The Civil Rights Act was revolutionary. Your new business product probably isn’t.

7. Mommy blogger

I’m not sure when the term “mommy blogger” became a category for anyone who blogs and has kids—including men.

8. Out of the box/thinking outside the box

Can you say cliché? This phrase isn’t very descriptive, either.

9. Logistics

A certain international shipping company isn’t the only one to abuse this word. Just about everyone abuses it.

9. Game-changer

My problem with this word is similar to my beef with “revolutionary.” We should reserve game-changing moments for the winning touchdown in the Superbowl, or the homerun that clinched the win in game seven of the World Series.

10. The next big thing

There are only so many things that can be the next big thing. See also “revolutionary” and “game-changer.”

11. Integrated/Integrated efforts

This is a tiny bit vague, right?

12. Real time

It is December 2011, not 1993. Let’s scrap this one from our vocabulary.

What additional buzzwords should be added to this list?

Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist and videographer. She writes on her personal blog, where a version of this article originally ran.

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