Can't we place a limit on terms?

By Steve Weissman posted 06-15-2011 08:50


It’s gotta be six months since I last railed against the endless debates over vernacular (see my post on January 6), but wouldn’t you know? Here comes another new bit of jargon guaranteed to obfuscate and confuse, necessitating another rant.

The offending phrase this time around is “social content management,” an erstwhile Gartner creation that stands apart from “transactional content management,” “content management as infrastructure,” and “online channel optimization” as categories into which to place different kinds of applications and/or technologies.

Now, I have no problem with the practice of putting such elements into buckets – goodness knows, I spend enough of my time doing this very thing for clients seeking to adapt the world at large to their particular context. But I’m not sure mixing and matching preexisting phrases (in this case, social media and content management) is the answer – especially when two of the four forenamed categories contain “workflow” and “workflow automation” as members. (As if we have a ready understanding of what the difference is between those two terms!)

So you have to ask yourself: is this new term really helping? Does it further the conversation? Or does it distract from the task at hand? – which is, of course, to obtain maximum total value from the solution in question.

It’s fine to develop and/or adopt new buzz phrases as long as you don’t let it derail your focus on business needs and system effectiveness. For at the end of the day, it makes no difference what you call it as long as it solves your problem. And if it doesn’t, well, that’s a rant of a different sort!

#ECM #buzzwords #socialmedia