As is fairly common at every age and generation in history, new terms keep popping up, which somehow sneak their way into popular vernacular. Well, among the hipster, social media crowd at least. The problem is some of these terms become pretty tired and worn out awfully quickly. Why? Because they became synonymous, in my view, with proving to the world that you are one of the cool kids. Terms like:
FOMO – fear of missing out. Perhaps just short-code for Attention Deficit Disorder. Any new app that hits the marketplace, the FOMO types are on it. They freak out if they can’t be first. They have to try it first. Write about it first. Be the expert on it first.
EPIC (OR EPIC SAUCE) – in my day, it was awesome, and I still proudly use the term. Nothing wrong with striving to be epic. In common slang, it means to be spectacular; very impressive or awesome. The problem is that it is used so often that I have to wonder just how spectacular every single thing can be. I mean, really, can everything be epic? Just sayin…
KNOWLEDGE BOMBS – meant to represent snackable bites of insightful, educational tips that can benefit someone in life or in business. It could also represent a comment or insight that is so powerful that it just blows up the notion of a typical aha moment.
MILLENNIAL MINDSET – this is a recent term that has gained traction of late. It is meant to represent people who are hyper connected, adapt to constant change and innovation quickly, and who have a strong desire to foster community, collaboration and giving back. That definition can apply to anyone, at any age, and as much as people declare that using the term isn’t a label, I suggest that it is. If you know that people of the millennial age don’t have a lock on these characteristics, why call it a millennial mindset? Why not just call it a mindset that is required to thrive in today’s constantly changing world? For a perspective about the term from several generations – read this excellent post recapping a recent Google hangout conversation.
HUMBLEBRAG – And then there is humblebrag, a term that I think is utterly ridiculous. It is annoying because people actually think that smart, observant people can’t see through the ruse. I know bragging when I see it. You? In a September 2014 blog post, Bryan Kramer of Pure Matter said, “By definition, a “Humble brag” is a specific type of bragging which masks the brag in a faux-humble disguise. The false humility allows the offender to boast their “achievements” without any sense of shame or guilt.” Bryan goes on to say, “The humble brag has become synonymous with actual bragging. The fine line between the two is so far blurred I’m not sure the braggers and the humblers know where it exists. And yes, there is a fine line.”
Humblebragging is irritating. Why? Because when you are boasting about yourself, that isn’t humble in the least. Frankly, the approach may not even be working to your advantage, according to a new working paper from a team of Harvard Business School researchers. The research concluded that you are probably better off just bragging, rather than pretending that isn’t what you are doing.
The proponents of humblebragging want you believe that they are simply sharing something they feel will be of value to everyone. Well, if you really want to humblebrag then tell me how your client work led to X percentage of increased business for your customer. Telling me how humbled you are because you are a hired speaker at yet another conference… yeah, I’m not seeing much value in that.
Listen, there isn’t anything wrong with sharing good news. I certainly do. But like so many other things that relate to when to share, what to share and when are you crossing the line with too much sharing… it is all about balance. I want to hear about good things going on in people’s lives, and at a certain point if all you do is spout off about how epic you are… well, that’s bragging, and it’s boring.