Green. Sustainable. Local. Organic.
Liberal. Socialist. Conservative. “Tea Bagger.”
Authenticity. Transparency. Leading your tribe.
Do what you love. Follow your passion. Be yourself.
What do these have in common?
They’re all once powerful words that have lost meaning. They’re buzzwords.
Many buzzwords start out as important concepts identified first by thought leaders. Then they catch on amongst a wider group of enthusiasts. Then opportunists milk the terms and borrow the benefits associated with them. The opportunists care about boosting their popularity but not about why the underlying concepts are important.
Then the general public catches on. The general public has only a vague idea of what the terms mean or why they are important, but people want to fit in and either do what’s right or pick a side, so they pay lip service to the terms.
Lip service is a disservice. It’s insincere to use terms simply because they’re popular without really understanding what they mean.
Once the lip service takes over, the corporate interests move in. Anything that becomes a buzzword will ultimately be used to make profits.
And that’s when a concept that started with the power to change the world for the better becomes impotent.
When was the last time you thought about the real meaning behind a buzzword you use? When was the last time you dug deep and did your own research on a topic to find out what you should really think about it (instead of just repeating what you hear)?
If you use the words but don’t know why they’re important, you become a marketing target. You contribute to making those potentially powerful terms weak, or you unknowingly make meaningless words more useful to the opportunists.
It’s up to us to stop the hype cycle and to stop letting opportunists steal the value of our words.
photo by Harold Abramowitz