“Don't hate me for what I've done (or said, in this case), pity me for what I've become." Someone Somewhere, once the corporate red pill wore off.
For mine, it started with the seemingly innocuous acceptance of the word "piece" as a cover-all term for any written submission or presentation. The dark clouds of jargonism swept in menacingly from the northern horizon when "piece" began sacking towns, villages and fortresses previously known as "topic", "discussion" and "thought". Seduced by the northern usurpers, "thought" spawned the first colony of lexiconic mutations. Patient Zero may have been "thought-piece" - the horror!
Meanwhile, back in the metropolitan corporate environments, restless thought-leaders yearned for metaphors that would take us past well-worn pieces such as "low-hanging fruit". They searched and searched the vastness of the Vernacular Desert, mining the expanse for that grain of truth that would irritate the oyster enough to form a precious pearl of wisdom... ah, of course - "granularity".
Alas, granularity was more fool's gold than the mother of all pearls. It lost its lustre quickly as the masses swiftly sniffed out the whiff of disingenuous and hastily cobbled-together referential rhinoplasty. Thought-leaders panicked as the Emperor's new words were found to be equal parts transparent, flimsy and ridiculous. What to do? Well, it was determined that yes, the word granularity and its usage was ill-conceived however, both the concept and "route to market" was found to be reliable and fruitful. The dotcom gold rush now applied to words - a few shiny flecks does not a boom make but that would be a (true) story for another time. For now, the message was clear: keep making up words and phrases and immediately integrate them smoothly into both the written and spoken word.
Piece in our time – and our presentations, speeches and podcasts
If we want "piece" (and bastardised terms just like it) we must be prepared to fight for it. It's war! And the enemy is common sense, supported by the axis of evil in the form of "straight talk", "clear thought" and... (sotto voce) honesty (gasp)! As social media bore the rise of LinkedIn, an arms race developed with thought leaders urging their acolytes to produce more and more varietals of catch-phrases, each more ridiculous and far-reaching than previous versions. Now, with the law of diminishing returns outpacing the War of the Words in ferocity, it's become clear that neither clear thought nor reason is reasonable grounds for truce, a moment to think or, dare we even whisper it, brevity (it seems my hypocrisy knows no bounds - blame it on the fog of this damnable war).
I wish I had better news from the front but it appears that what started off as a perceived need to say something simple in a slightly more interesting way has become, alas, a full-blown jargon apocalypse.
Well, at least we're safe from ridiculous three-letter acronyms...