What's The Buzz?
Top 10 overused buzzwords in LinkedIn Profiles in the USA – 2010
- Extensive experience
- Proven track record
- Team player
- Problem solver
Manu Sharma explains why this fails.
Wonder what really makes people cringe when they look at your LinkedIn Profile? It’s those clichéd words and phrases. You know what they are — those ambiguous ones that really don’t tell you anything.
Some days, I sit and marvel at the nonsense I read online, whether from marketers or social media gurus, and sadly even fellow blawgers who purport to write about substantive issues. I see lots of words strung together that give the impression of, what, something. But I've got no clue what they actually say.
I wonder whether I missed the memo that explained why a word that otherwise has no particular meaning is now a very important word, chock full of particularization. Am I the only one who doesn't understand it? Am I the only one who reads every word, sometimes twice, and finds myself clueless as to what the point might be?
Adding to my bewilderment are the comments, applauding the string of vagaries for their brilliance, insight, illumination. Reading the comments, my concern grows deeper. Do these people realize that nothing whatsoever was said? Not a single idea was transmitted, and yet they are ready to compare this with Plato.
Am I missing something? No seriously, am I the village idiot, the only one too dense to appreciate the depth and genius of this string of words that means absolutely nothing to me?
Obviously, I realized that the marketers and social media gurus sucked up to one another despite the wholesale absence of anything resembling thought because it was in their mutual best interest to do so. If they didn't spend their days thanking each other for their brilliance and retwitting, they would have nothing whatsoever to say.
I recalled the self-proclaimed social media rockstar, Tamar Weinberg, one of the most vapid twinkies in the blogosphere, who went bonkers when someone told her she was an empty bore. It was shocking to me to learn that this wasn't a conspiracy of the thoughtfully manipulative, a corps of schemers who realized that they were pulling the leg of every dim-witted sycophant in the digital world. They had no idea that they were living in an intellectual void. They believed that strings of empty words meant something.
There isn't much to be done with people who are no deeper than a puddle.
But it's the blawgers and their lawyer readers that continue to trouble me. One purpose of law school used to be to develop the skill of critical analysis, Prof. Kingsfield's "think like a lawyer." Are they still doing that?
It's not that all young lawyers and law students are a bunch of dopes, as there are many who strike as remarkable smart, analytical and incisive. The problem is that there are a lot who aren't as well, Whether it's because of their applauding content that says nothing, assertions without substance or irrational arguments, or whether they read a post that makes a clear, well-reasoned point, and completely miss it.
Buzz words are cool, happening and cutting edge. Use them and there's an awfully good chance that some people will respond that you are a "thought leader" and a "game changer." Maybe they will fear that anything short of complete approval will reveal them as unhip. Maybe they just seek approval in return. Maybe they're too stupid to realize that it's just a string of letters without any meaning.
If you're a lawyer, however, this isn't good enough. You are supposed to be capable of thinking. You should be able to discern the difference between substance and "those ambiguous ones that really don’t tell you anything." If you can't, it's a problem. If you won't, then that's pathetic.
There are many of us reading, both the blawg posts as well as the comments, not to mention the twits, to see if there's anything interesting in there. We see that bad as well as the good. Most won't tell you that we're seeing insipid reactions to vapid content. But they will think to themselves, what a moron.
I'm not the only one who sees this. If you don't, then there's a good chance that you're the person I'm talking about, the one who can't distinguish between a meaningless buzzword and actual thought. Are you on the side of thoughtful substance, or do buzzwords suffice?