from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Slang terms are commonly used between people who belong to the same social group – they tell you about the topic and the speaker. Soldiers eat in a ‘mess’, Sailors cook in the ‘galley’ and Advertising Executives go for a ‘3 martini lunch’. Every industry has their own jargon, and every group has their own slang – even couples develop common language to reinforce their shared identity. Jargon at its best can produce more efficient and accurate communication: ‘Charlie Echo’ is easier to hear than the letters ‘C E’ on the radio. At it’s worst, use of jargon can be confusing, pretentious, and exclusionary to outsiders. Studies show that low-status people abuse it to sound more intelligent, important, or business-like. People love to complain about Buzzwords, but all language requires cultural context – idioms are dime a dozen.
We must make sure the culture we’re communicating with, shares the memes we’re using. This paragraph is indecipherable to most people: “Robyn is an automated Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) code. It aims to reduce human bias by means of ridge regression and evolutionary algorithms, enables actionable decision making providing a budget allocator and diminishing returns curves and allows ground-truth calibration to account for causation.” However explaining everything in plain English would take thousands of words – compressing it to just 43 is useful work! An expert can scan this text to quickly learn what this tool does. If it’s ‘gobbledygook’ to you, it’s still helpful as a signal you’re not the right audience. This isn’t as exclusionary as it sounds: each of these terms can be Googled by outsiders willing to learn. Don’t avoid Jargon, use it as a tool – the difference between helpful and harmful, is selecting the right memes.
Cambridge Dictionary “slang”
Does Your Office Have a Jargon Problem?
Facebook Robyn Definitions thread, Michael Taylor
Robyn: Automated Marketing Mix Modeling open source code, by Facebook (Meta)