Catch Phrases

I notices this past week at the seminar I was involved in that certain catch phrases and ideas catch on like wild-fire and become the words that everyone is using to define the direction we are moving toward. The little seminar itself could almost be described that way, as it was this big idea coming out API called Newspaper Next. I am reminded of things that I worked on back in 2002 or so-called Internet 2.0, which itself has been replaced by Web 2.0. Do not get me wrong, I think it was a wonderful seminar and there were some really good ideas that came out of it. I think it is good that the media industry has some folks starting to realize that business usual is going to lead to no business in a few years if things are not shaken up and changed a lot.

What really irks me about the catch phrases are those two or three people at the office and the one or two friends that you have. You know the ones, they hear a couple of new terms or catch phrases and really jump on the band wagon and run with it. Usually it is the person that really has no understanding the methodology or any real understanding of what they are really talking about that does that kind of thing.

Some catch phrases that came up a lot last week were good enough versus perfection, especially the good enough aspect of things. This one kind of made me wonder, as I did not get a preview and I blogged about the very thing earlier in the same week. Kind of an irony and makes me think that somewhere in the back of my mind the presenter and myself stumbled across the same things in our reading. However, he attributed the expression to someone of relatively recent fame (the name escapes me at the moment) and I know the general idea and conflict between the two actually goes back Voltaire who allegedly noted, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Obviously my reading that kind of got me to originally thinking that direction was technologically oriented and in fact regarding computer security – but it was a much broader thought and I feel validated by hearing it so many times last week.

Critical mass was another one that was heard a huge number of times in and out of the seminar. I may have used that once or twice myself in regards to some of the plans that were run as exercises during the seminar. As was discussed between myself and the person driving home, this is one term that is hugely over used. Further, he and I both are fairly sure that at least a quarter of the people had no idea what was actually meant by the phrase. I did know what the phrase meant. Further as we discussed, probably near two-thirds had no idea from whence the term originates. I knew in the back of my head it physics and felt pretty strongly that it had something to do with the bombs, but I couldn’t place my finger on the exact nature of it. I got that explained to me by my driving partner by the way, as I love to know and learn and he did some physics work back in college. Given that, as School House Rock used to say, “Knowledge is Power,” I will be more than happy to explain to anyone that wants to know as well now that I have had the lesson.

Clouds, more specifically cloud tags, which seemed to be on every other page of the presentation was another big one. The presenter only referred to them as clouds, though those of us with any technological connection at all knew exactly were the ideas and graphical representations originated. Anyway, it seems odd for me to say as a blogger, where they are so often utilized that I don’t think I like them. Even if I do like them, the first few that did it were really cool and neat to see, but I think they are way over done these days. As a matter of fact, I have even told friends that had them, for a blog with only a few posts that I thought it was kind of lame. Of course, I did note just today, that WordPress now has global cloud tags and that potentially could drive more traffic to the blog – so who knows, maybe I will end up with the cloud tag catch phrase present right on my blog sometime soon.