Sticks and Stones: The Challenge of Technobabble

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 18th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

One of the challenges of the modern world is the overuse of technobabble, choose any professional field and you will find that the language of that profession has become more complex and more elite, it is almost as if the technobabble is there to exclude the rest of us. In truth this is not a problem merely associated with technology fields although this is where it may have began.

Sticks & Stones

Sticks and Stones is a series of articles that are all about being smarter with the language we use on an everyday basis. Truth is most people have their faux pas and challenges when communicating particularly verbally, this series is about several more serious issues that need addressing across the English world. You should also take a look at the following article:

Desire to Appear Smart?

Everyone wants to appear smart and for many there is, sadly, a tendency for people to use the technical language of their trade or profession, in many respects it seems a natural thing to do given the time and money invested in their career to date, yet it is rare to find yourself completely surrounded by people of the same profession, even in a specialised workplace. Every job has its own technical language and some people think that it distinguishes them in some way to use that language at every opportunity, but there are often times when it builds a fence between you and others.

Wikipedia calls this type of language use "technobabble", "using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification, misdirection, and obfuscation". A recent advertisement by a local lawyer that specialises in benefit claims that uses legal speak as well as a specific tone that has a tendency to talk-down to perspective clients this is possibly the worst example of technical language being used anywhere in the world... he uses legal language to reinforce the distinction between this learned gentleman and his poor clients who have had no opportunity to advance in life. This is technobabble of the highest order and my advice to his would be clients is to seek a more approachable lawyer who will talk to them about their problems in a language they can understand.

Mother's Advice

As a child my mother always gave me one piece of advice regarding the English language: "if there are two words that mean the same thing then ALWAYS use the short word instead of the long one." Sound advice that I have always lived by, we may also know this rule as keep it sweet and simple, (that has an acronym K. I. S. S.). Of course to every rule there are exceptions because it is even better to use a word that is precise in its definition rather than loose, so the word you use needs to be correct.

Unless a discussion is between two people having the same technical background then complex technical words should not be used in any conversation, that will allow the lay person to understand the discussion clearly and more importantly make a contribution. Another thing to add here is avoid the use of acronyms (another favourite of technical language) unless they are universally known, for example TV, that everyone knows means television, but remember even common acronyms have some confusion around their usage and are best avoided.

Some articles you may Like

The following articles, have each been published by Peter Giblett and may be of some interest to you:

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Being Smarter With Language, Keep It Sweet And Simple, Sicks And Stones, Talk-Down, Technical Language, Technobabble

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar Peppernina63
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Great article Peter and great insight Thank you for sharing.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Excellent piece! Kudos

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Good points, Peter. As one of my mentors used to say, never use the five dollar word when the nickel one will do.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Nice job, Peter. Good points!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Sep 2013 (#)

i dontt understand such things and dont want to.....good piece Peter....

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author avatar Trillionaire
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Great article.

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author avatar M G Singh
20th Sep 2013 (#)

good post Peter, its a changing world. Part of evolution

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author avatar Retired
20th Sep 2013 (#)

Sounds like some sound advice Peter. :-)

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