Why Web 2.0 is More Than a Buzzword

Kathy Sierra just published a brilliant post entitled Why Web 2.0 is More Than a Buzzword. She takes off on the controversy about whether or not there’s meat on the Web 2.0 bone with an extended rumination on the value of jargon, which she distinguishes from meaningless buzzwords:

“Where buzzwords are used to impress or mislead, jargon is used to communicate more efficiently and interestingly with others who share a similar level of knowledge and skills in a specific area…. It’s not about elitism–it’s about efficiency. It’s not about impressing others–it’s about a shared understanding of specific concepts. It’s about being able to talk about ideas or processes or even parts with fewer words and (potentially) greater meaning. If two heart surgeons debate the merits of a new medical procedure, I’d be lost. Hell, I’m over my head when the conversation turns to cooking. But I can talk about cantles and pommels, and I know exactly what topline means in the context of collection. And I can talk about recursion and dependency-injection and backward-chaining. Just don’t ask me how to carmelize.

Dinner conversations around my house often are about one of those two things–programming or horses–and most non-horse, non-developer folks might wonder if we’re just making s*** up. But if you took away our jargon, the conversations would not just be slower, they’d be dumber. “

Kathy ends with a fabulous pop quiz:

“Think of all the other words or phrases that mean nothing to us simply because we’re not in that profession or hobby. Pop Quiz: From which domains do these sets of words or phrases come from?”

Take her quiz. You’ll get the point.