11 tech buzzwords that need to go away

Technology has a language all its own. And like any language, the terms of tech are littered with annoying buzzwords and obnoxious expressions—the kinds of things that make you sigh every time you see them in a headline, blog post, or social media update.

Well, my friends, it's time to take our language back. Herein lie the 11 most annoying tech expressions known to man. Remove them from your vocabulary immediately, and if you catch someone else using them, chastise and/or shame them (gently).

Seriously, for the love of all things sacred, it's time for these phrases to die.

1. Acqui-hire

Tech companies often buy startups for their talent rather than their products. For example, Google reportedly paid millions for a company called Milk in order to get its staff working on Google+.

This practice has led to the creation of the cringe-worthy word "acqui-hire." Get it? The companies acquire in order to hire. Acquire-hire. Acqui-HIRE. See what they did there?

Come on, now. Just stop it.

Before I gouge my eyes out, let me just say this: The kind of guy who would use the word "acqui-hire" in real life would also wink and flash a couple of air-quotes while doing it.

Please, don't be that guy.

2. Phablet

While we're on the topic of maddeningly annoying mashups, let's go ahead and cross "phablet" off the list of "things that are okay to say."

Phablet came into popularity with the release of Samsung's first Galaxy Note phone. At 5.3 inches, the device seemed awfully big for a phone. So maybe it was more of a tablet. Aw, heck, who can decide? Let's just put the words together and call it a phablet.

Hey, I get it: We live in a time when portmanteaus such as "Bennifer," "Brangelina," "TomKat," and "Portmanteau" are somehow things a person can say without getting smacked upside the head. But society doesn't have to be one big issue of US Weekly. Leave the contrived combos to Billy Bush, won't ya?

3. Social graph

Mark Zuckerberg loves to use made-up buzzwords like "social graph." Those types of complicated-sounding terms make his business sound expansive and important.

Trust me, though: When you use those words, you sound like a total schmuck. Say "friends," "networks," or "people you're connected to," but leave "social graph" to the sweaty dudes in silly hoodies.

4. Cloudification

The cloudification of San Francisco.

If ever there were a buzzword that needs to buzz off, "cloudification" is it. Cloudification is a term someone came up with to describe the trend of people moving their data online—"into the cloud," as it were—and relying less on local storage.

It's also a term that will have everyone in the room mocking you behind your back, and that's a guarantee. Go ahead and file it away with "synergy," "incentivize," and "paradigm shift," all of which belong in your "things that make me sound like a tool" drawer.

5. Social media expert

Let's face it: The term "social media expert" has become a bit of a punchline. For all practical purposes, it's basically a euphemism for "guy who lost his real job six months ago."

The time has come for the term to be officially retired. Make up a new meaningless title, people. Your nonexistent qualifications should make you a shoo-in for any other made-up job.

6. Tweeps

Repeat after me: Only twerps say tweeps. Only twerps say tweeps. Only twerps say tweeps.

That's actually kind of fun to say. But this is no laughing matter: The practice of referring to one's Twitter followers as "tweeps" (or "tweeple," even) is beyond obnoxious. And since it's mainly "social media experts" who say it, the word is a natural fit for our tech term graveyard.

7. Microblogging

When Twitter first came around, "microblogging" seemed like a good way to describe the short bursts of sharing the service encouraged. These days, though, no one thinks of tweeting as "microblogging"; rather, we think of it as tweeting, sharing, or posting a social media update.

Microblogging has become another pointless buzzword used by pundits and pinheads who are trying to sound smart. Listen to the tweeple, people, and let the word die with dignity.

Unless you are referring to this scientist's Tumblr page, don't use the word 'microblogging.'

8. Fanboy

The word "fanboy" has been around for ages, but in the holy war-like battle between iOS and Android enthusiasts, it's become a lazy label for anyone who expresses a differing perspective.

Case in point: I write a lot about Android. I use the platform personally and like a lot about it. I also see its areas for improvements and have no problem discussing the OS's drawbacks or my disappointments with lackluster devices.

I expect to get called an "Android fanboy" from time to time; that pretty much comes with the territory when you write a column about the platform. But when I write something that's critical of Android or an Android-based device, I also, much to my amusement, get called an Apple fanboy, despite the fact that Apple wasn't even part of the discussion.

"Fanboy" has been overused to the point where it's lost any and all meaning. To quote the great Cosmo Kramer, "Buddy, I gotta tell you something: That's played--so-o-o played."

9. Mocial

Mocial? MOCIAL? Seriously, guys?

Whoever came up with this cutesy combination of "mobile" and "social" needs to be sent to a remote island with all the writers from TechCrunch and a looping mix of Ke$ha's greatest hits. A week of that should be enough to set anyone straight.

10. Game changer

When you say 'game change,' you'd better be talking about arcade tokens.

If you read enough tech news, it won't take you long to figure out that practically every new startup, service, and product that launches is, like, totally a game changer. A quick search of the aforementioned TechCrunch, for example, shows a whopping 7,030 uses of the term as of this writing.

Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, tech launches don't change anything. Ten times out of ten, they don't change everyone's inexplicable desire to make mundane technology sound like life-altering stuff.

And speaking of hyperactive hyperbole...

11. [Something]-killer

Please, for the love of blogs, can we kill the phrase "[something]-killer" already? Far too many technophiles feel the need to use it in reference to every new device that comes along.

"Is this the iPhone-killer?" "This tablet is no iPad-killer." "Holy mackerel, Maude, I think we've got ourselves a Gmail-killer!"

I'll tell you one thing: Putting a stop to the "[something]-killer" cliché would be a real game changer.

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