A quick riposte while on a lunch break after nine hours at work mostly spent writing a proposal:
Buzzwords aren’t all bad, 37 Signals. The examples cited typically seem to indicate a desire to be anti-elitist and inclusionary. Well, not all communication is meant for outsiders! A great example is all the communication we do at work: we have a lot of shorthand for a lot of the work we do. The only time that we really have to break out of that shorthand is when we have to communicate with people outside of our group—and doing so then is quite, quite vital. A lot of buzzwords come from insider shorthand—it’s only bad when it escapes the insiders!
As an example: I’m quite sure that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had his fair amount of shorthand. If nothing else, he was a seminarian, and those folks are prone to the development of lots of conceptualizations that are best expressed in theological terms—on the inside.
But this “buzzwords are always bullshit” stance is, in and of itself, bullshit. If you closely watched the 37Signals Campfire room, I’m more than willing to bet that you’d find a lot of internal shorthand that could, at some point, be buzzworded. [Ruby on Rails, for instance. Rails is their framework, their name for their system. Rails is short, quick, and to the point. But now it’s a buzzword. My point exactly.]
When making sweeping statements, be care to note context. This writer failed to adequately do so, which brings about this response.