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'Love Handles,' Buzzwords and the Epidemic of TMI

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Most of us will probably end the year still carrying those 10 pounds we resolved to shed just a week ago. But not all of our resolutions are destined to fail, especially if we keep the focus on things that are easier to change than our weight.

So let's collectively banish buzzwords, protect our privacy and take a few other steps to make our increasingly commingled work/life a little easier to deal with — and a little more fun. Whether you're a CDO or a CEO, a marketer or a manufacturer, here are several universally appealing technologies to help you reach your objectives.

Cut and Erase

Let's manage our expectations, expedite the deliverables, do the math, grab the low hanging fruit and created a value added opportunity. Actually, let's not. We've told you before how much we like to banish those ridiculous, annoying and overused buzzwords. But now we're sharing a tool that actually helps you do it.

You can't imagine how happy I was to learn about an automated PR jargon removal tool in an email from Hamish Thompson, managing director of the London-based public relations agency Twelve Thirty Eight. The appropriately named Buzzsaw "strips jargon out of press releases." All you have to do is cut and paste a press release (or any other speeches, strategy documents, advertising copy or other collections of words) into the box on the page and press the "buzz it" button.

"The Buzzsaw does the rest." And it works, effectively flagging troublesome phrases like "innovative solutions," "strategic relationships" and, my personal favorite, the "iconic sweet romance of floral."

Thompson said he originally developed the Buzzsaw for internal use. But he made it publicly available based on a rise in complaints from journalists about buzzwords, jargon and other cloying terms.

In an interview with CMSWire, Thompson noted that the tool has been used to purge jargon from more than 25,000 documents. "We're delighted with the reaction," he said.

Given that it's domiciled in the UK, the Buzzsaw does have a few quirks for those of us who speak English (OK, American English) — flagging phrases like "does what it says on the tin" and recognizing "high calibre" but not "high caliber" as problematic.

But it's close enough to be useful, especially with respect to hipster-style phrases like “totes amazeballs,” “awesome” and “super excited." Sure it will miss some words, but you have the option to add words to the database — just send an email to buzzwords@1238kmh.com.

And Thompson predicts it will become ever more universal this year. "We've been building up our database of horrific buzzwords based on submissions from UK-based journalists for about a year," he explained. "We thought the time was right to introduce the Buzzsaw properly to a US audience."

Cheers to that. Every buzzword destroyed is a victory for those of us who prefer clear to cute.

Not So Hidden Information

Sharing everything has gone from a sign of poor breeding to the politically correct thing to do. But is it the right thing? Or even the most practical thing? So maybe this is the year to slow down, count to 10 and think before expressing a point of view. And while we're at it, let's cover up, too.

We're giving too much data away.

Take those pretty pictures you post so freely for business and pleasure. Almost every image contains more metadata than most amateur photographers ever dreamed. To clarify, metadata is "data about data," and it refers to the descriptive information embedded inside an image or other type of file. It's the stuff you've been hearing about in connection with the spying by the US National Security Agency.

All digital cameras (including smartphones) embed Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) technical metadata about the creation of an image. Exif data includes the camera make and model, the date and time the image was created, shutter speed, and the lens used. In addition, most mobile phones and digital cameras have built-in GPS receivers that can record precise information about where a picture was taken.

 

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