Wednesday, June 29, 2005


jargon decipherment

We hear constantly that jargon is "bad" because outsiders don't understand it. But jargon is also good because it represents a highly developed and meaningful vocabulary among a social network.

I admit to feeling uncomfortable when hearing jargon I don't understand. I sometimes wonder, "Am I supposed to know what this means?" Sometimes I hang back and can figure it out, but other times I have to profess my ignorance. The interesting revelation comes when I discover whose jargon I am hearing. Is it industry-wide jargon, or particular to a company? I am perhaps less embarrassed by company-specific jargon, unless of course they have made a public virtue of their branded way of describing something.

Jargon is interesting because people often are not even aware they are saying something that might not be understood to outsiders. It represents the enormous power that context has on shaping behavior.

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