My unconference on buzz words


It’s summer and it’s a weekend, so I’m going to rant a little here:

Along with a lot of professionals I know, I have a problem with terms that are created just to sound cute and sell something. That is, for me, the definition of a buzzword…and in my experience, they kill the lifespan of great ideas and give marketing a bad name along the way. I feel this way about “thought leadership,” a term that should not be considered a buzzword but was misused to the extent that it became one. Reputation management is a good one for other reasons: it renames a strategy that already exists but apparently needed a catchy new phrase to reignite interest.

I’ve been barraged by solicitations for Unconferences lately, and I have to call the word out on the carpet. Wikipedia tells us that the events have been around for a decade but only labeled so buzz-wordingly over the past few years. The moniker was once tech-centric but is now anything-centric, which spells trouble for the concept. I mean come on, people, it’s a good idea. It deserves to live on. Call it a networking showcase, or a connection event. But “we’re so much not like a conference that we are an UNconference?”

“We are the opposite of a conference?”

“The anti-conference?”

In the words of some famous writer guy: unconferences dost protest too much, methinks…


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