I used to think there were a lot of buzzwords and jargon in HR, especially when it came to the war for talent and searching for the purple squirrel. Then I worked in marketing, and I learned to dimensionalize everything and evolve the brand.

But, now that I have a nascent software company, I’ve discovered that there’s a whole new level of jargon. I can’t get through a meeting without hearing phrases like feature-creep, iterate and human-centered experience.

(As opposed to pig-centered experience? Because a pig-centered experience might be okay, especially if it’s a baby pig.)

So it’s pretty much decided at GlitchPath that we’re for creating human-centered experiences. Not against. My platform is for people, not robots, and everything I do is an attempt to make life better.

But I am against jargon across all verticals, including the vertical in which saying “vertical” is okay. Jargon is exclusionary. Jargon can be divisive. And jargon is often racist, sexist, ableist, and meant to create a wall between two people to demonstrate status and access to information.

I’m anti-jargon at all levels because jargon impedes communication. And, if I’m committed to human-centered experiences, I can’t be all about jargon. It’s the opposite of human-centered experiences.

There are words we use because it’s part of the popular culture, but there are words we use to sound like we have a business degree when we actually don’t. (Or maybe we have a business degree, and we want to other people to know it.) Regardless, communication is a privilege and responsibility. Do better. Think better. Speak better.

Drop the jargon, and lead by example.


  1. As a (former) IT technical writer*, I’ve fought and mostly lost the buzzword war. As much as I tried, program managers insisted on using ten-dollar words when five-cent words would work and actually be clearer in context.

    I came to the conclusion that most of them think that using big, complicated words and dense jargon makes them sound impressive and important. To the educated reader and listener, it only makes them sound pretentious. Some of the documents I was forced to edit looked more like coded messages than text.

    It’s funny, but when I was writing for the airlines (both operations and IT), THEY were actually very supportive of using simple English. In fact, the aviation industry led by Boeing and Airbus have actually created “Simplified Technical English” and have a course in it. They did this for safety reasons and for the fact that many ESL people work in the industry and it helps to avoid confusion.

    *I’m looking for a job doing anything BUT tech writing/contracting. It’s gotten so brutal that I really don’t like it anymore.

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