by Jeff Einstein,Â Thursday, May 3, 2012 9:07 AMÂ MEDIA POST
Life in the digital 21st century is really a function of euphemizingÂ ourselves from cradle to grave.Â Maybe thatâ€™s always been the case, butÂ todayâ€™s spinmeisters seem especially adroit at squeezing majesty from mendacityÂ (or mundacity) and snatching pyrrhic victory from the jaws of defeat.Â Â Consider just a few of todayâ€™s better examples:
A friend used to be the recipient of your purest love. Nowadays, a friend isÂ someone to click on once and forget entirely, with no requisite love/hateÂ investment of any sort.Â Thanks to Facebook, todayâ€™s friends are toÂ yesterdayâ€™s friends what yesterdayâ€™s dollar is to todayâ€™s two bits (on a goodÂ day).
Donâ€™t be surprised to see Mark Zuckerberg take over for Ben Bernanke at theÂ Federal Reserve (or vice versa) in the near future. Theyâ€™re both in the sameÂ business with the same cheap currency and the same borrowed slogan: eat all youÂ want, weâ€™ll make more.
Quality time is a euphemism for no time at all, mostly because we spend allÂ of our time (quality or otherwise) attending to all of our time-saving digitalÂ devices.
Relevance and Metrics
Digital marketers often use the word relevance in broad association with the word metrics. Of course, neither describes anything that actually works.Â Â Rather, they describe things that can be sold, and are therefore, mostÂ effective when used in the same sentence, as in:â€œWe need a new suite of metricsÂ to ensure relevance.â€ Translation: â€œWe canâ€™t sell the old metrics anymore.â€
Thatâ€™s why everyone in online advertising is on the hunt now for a moreÂ relevant metric to replace the CTR: apparently, no one can sell statisticalÂ zero.Â Usually, those marketers that use the word relevance as a metric toÂ describe ads are their own best customers: Theyâ€™ll buy anything.Â (PleaseÂ see Optimization and Performance below.)
Optimization and Performance
(Please see Relevance and Metrics above.)Â Optimization and performanceÂ are what we sell when nothing works at all, as in: â€œWe need to optimizeÂ congressional performance and the Boston Red Sox bullpen.â€Â Or, â€œTheÂ ad campaign was optimized to elevate performance to statistical zero.â€
AI is where we currently deposit all of our hopes for a better future throughÂ digital technology — largely because we have no faith in our own intelligenceÂ anymore (for obvious reasons).Â But beware of false gods: As my brotherÂ Mike says: â€œIf my phone is so smart, why canâ€™t I reach anyone with it?â€
Communicate and Communications
Thereâ€™s a reason why we never see the verb communicate in the same sentenceÂ with the noun communications: No one can actually communicate in todayâ€™s worldÂ of instant communications.Â (Please see the smartphone reference under Artificial Intelligence above.)
Transparency and Accountability
Typically, those who demand the most transparency and accountability inÂ others are those who are least transparent and accountable themselves. DemandsÂ for transparency and accountability are theatrically most effective asÂ congressional committee opportunities to display righteous indignation and shock in response to the sudden and inexplicable loss of billions of taxpayer dollars — most of which gets pumped back into political and special-interest campaignsÂ for more transparency and accountability.
I tossed this one into the mix because I suddenly see it everywhere.Â Â For instance, the bread aisle of my supermarket now sells artisan baguettes. But itâ€™s the same old baguette with a new artisan bag.Â Â Meanwhile, Duncan Donuts is now running an ad campaign for artisanÂ bagels. Significantly, no one in the ads seems to know what the wordÂ artisan means. I rest my case.
What are some of your favorite euphemisms for life and work in the digitalÂ 21st century?