Turns Out, There's a Lot of Buzz About Overused Words | Social Joey

When we wrote up a blog a few weeks back about words we wanted to retire, we had no idea how much of a hit it would be!

We only knew that there were a few words, both pandemic-related and not, that we wanted to kiss goodbye.

But we quickly learned that so many of you have…let’s just say… opinions on this topic! Jack Monson, our Chief Revenue Officer, shared the “Words We’d Like to Banish” blog on his LinkedIn page—and y’all took it from there.

With all that buzz about words to retire, we thought we’d circle back for a little more fun.

What We Wrote About

You did read the original blog, right? If you didn’t, here’s a quick recap!

Sometimes we hear words and phrases so often that we would be fine if we never heard them again. That’s the case for a lot of pandemic-related words, including:

  • Pivot
  • Unprecedented
  • In these uncertain times
  • We’re all in this together
  • In an abundance of caution

And even beyond the pandemic, there are a lot of phrases we could do without:

  • Just
  • Literally
  • State-of-the-art
  • Innovative
  • Actually
  • Honestly

A Few Additions to the “Words to Retire” List

It felt so good to share our thoughts about overused words with the world—to get it off our chest, so to speak! But it was such fun to read all the other words and phrases our readers want to add to the list.

Here’s our user-generated list of overused words and phrases:

  • Rockstar. If you have to proclaim yourself or your brand as a rockstar, are you really? Why are we using the word to describe things that have nothing to do with rock?

  • Guru. See above. Whew, has this word been so overused in the last few years especially.

  • Ninja. OK, OK, we take this one a little personally. We’ve been known to occasionally refer to ourselves as social media ninjas, and we stand behind that. 😂

  • Adulting. Yes, being an adult is sometimes not the most fun. But no, we don’t need to make it into a verb all of its own.

  • Slay. We’re not even quite sure what to say about this one! We’ll go with the opposite of Nike’s slogan: Just don’t.

  • Game-changing. This is along the same lines of “innovative” and “state-of-the-art” from our original list; it’s simply the new, hip version. There are better ways to get your point across about your product or service.

  • Next level. As opposed to the previous level? This falls into the same bucket as the word above.

  • At the end of the day. This is a really common phrase, but does it ever add value to a sentence or an email?

  • Said no one ever. If ever there was a phrase overused on social media, this might be it. It’s in every meme we’ve seen in 2021, it seems like.

  • New normal. We’re not sure how we left this off our original list of pandemic-related words to say goodbye to. It’s certainly been said a few many million times in the last year.

  • You got this. This one is grammatically incorrect on top of being overused. That’s the double whammy of phrases that need to be retired!

  • Outside the box. How about we get rid of the box altogether? What box are we talking about, anyhow?

  • The bottom line. This is another unnecessary version of “at the end of the day.” It’s used quite often, but what value does it add?

Why Overused Words Become So Annoying

Word overuse is not a new phenomenon. Seemingly since the first written language came into existence, we’ve used and used words until they escape their meaning.

Why does that happen? Well, there are probably a number of reasons why overused words eventually start to annoy us.

But first and foremost is that we simply get exhausted by those words and phrases. Consider it “word fatigue.” No matter how much you love a specific word, if you hear it over and over again, it will eventually start to hit you wrong.

Think about a specific food or a meal you ate quite frequently for a period of time. In most cases, when you eat a food repeatedly, your tastebuds will eventually become tired of it.

The same goes for words. When you digest them frequently, at a certain point, enough is enough!

There’s also another point to consider when it comes to word overuse. Most words and phrases start out being totally fine—and often very useful in describing something.

Over time, though, as language evolves and words are used in everyday conversation (and these days, on social media) many words begin to lose their original meaning. That can leave us with “empty” words, which are often one and the same with words that we wish would hit the road.

Think about these examples: genius, hero, devastated, random and ironic.

Marketers & Word Overuse

While anyone can overuse a word or phrase at any point, it’s especially common in marketing and advertising. It makes sense. We’re trying to sell our customers and potential customers on a product or service, so we’ll try everything we can.

That often causes us to lean toward jargon-y words, acronyms people don’t necessarily understand, and many of the words we’ve outlined above. And let’s be honest: That’s not the way to sell a product!

It’s too easy to fall into a groove, using the same words and phrases all the time in both our communications and our advertising. But in the long run, that can lead to your audience giving in to word fatigue and tuning you out.

What can you do to make a change in this regard? Examine your brand’s marketing materials and ads. Look for overused words, and then determine whether you can omit them from a sentence or if you can replace them with a stronger word.

Searching out these inefficiencies in your content is a key part of ensuring your customers look to you as an expert—and keep turning to you when they’re in need.

Is it time for a mid-year changeup when it comes to your brand’s social media marketing efforts? Let us go to work for you! Get in touch today to get started.