If you haven’t heard of buzzword bingo, you should be thankful for the job you have. Buzzword Bingo is an iteration of bingo where your card’s grid is filled with buzzwords instead of card numbers. But what are buzzwords, you ask?
Buzzwords are words that come and go in fashion for people to use when they’re talking out of their arse – in other words, when they have absolutely no idea what’s going on but want to sound smart just to fuel their ego. They’re commonly seen in the marketing department. I like buzzwords myself and use them, but mostly when the context actually deserves them. Most of the time they’re thrown about like lemmings off a cliff.
Case in point, an example everybody (at least visiting this page) should be familiar with is Web 2.0. The first sign that it’s a buzzword is that nobody off the street can tell you exactly what this Web 2.0 is – everybody will give you something different from another. The second sign that it’s a buzzword is that it requires even more buzzwords to describe it. Heck, the Wikipedia page uses words like "user-centered design", "information sharing", and "folksonomies". The third characteristic of buzzwords are quite surprising – it’s normally that the word or phrase itself if taken literally is completely self-explanatory, but when used as a buzzword it loses all meaning in an abstract nebulous mist of paradigms and whatno- oh sorry. Couldn’t resist. In a nutshell, there are few quality buzzwords, and even fewer buzzwords that have become timeless fashion statements in the English language. Web 2.0 might be one of them, but as per definition, nobody can really be sure.
Going back to the topic, buzzword bingo is normally distributed to attendants to a function like a meeting where the speaker is well known for their use of buzzwords, like Al Gore. We sit there, listening intently but not really absorbing anything at all. At least it’s an improvement from sitting there neither listening nor absorbing. Upon hearing a column, row or diagonal line in our conventionally 5 by 5 grid we exclaim Bingo! … and go back to catching up on sleep.
The game originated in 1993 and was popularised by a Dilbert comic strip a year later.
Just wanted to share it – I brought in Bingo cards to my business studies lecture the other day and although not a winner myself, had a lot of laughs. Gotta love the look on his face when I heard "Bingo, sir."