The Worst Tech Buzzword Of the Year: Mocial

The technology industry loves to come up with pet names and terms for trends. To name a few that have come out in the last year or so: gamification, social dynamics, check-in, onboard, pivot, open graphs, closed graphs, social graphs. Lots of graphs. Most of these words and terms are fine, if overused, additions to lexicon and fit well within the nerd nomenclature. Yet, there is one that should be banished before it has a chance to spread its wings.

Mocial.

Mocial is a mix of mobile+local+social. To be fair, this is definitely a trend in the mobile realm. Apps are becoming more social and are increasing engagement by being localized to that person. At the same time, the tech industry may have jumped the shark though on creating this pidgin.

Mocial first popped into my inbox on October 5, 2011. Predictably, it was one of the first lines from a PR person trying to get my attention about some service or another. I read it and may have thrown up in my mouth a little bit. In a 200 PR pitch the word was used six times. “We are one of the only companies that can provide full mocial benefits to our customers!”

First of all, that was a complete falsehood. Mocial is not a service. Nor is it really a suite of products. What the idea of mobile+local+social means is to give context to user actions within and app or a mobile website by relating it back to their friends and contacts while honing it to the world around you. This can be achieved in a variety of different ways. There are SDKs like Socialize that can be mixed with Google Maps

Where do these words come from? Really, look no further than the tech hotbeds of the United States. If there is a term dripping in BS, it likely emanated from the office of some startup or PR firm in either San Francisco or New York. I am sure they were incredibly proud of themselves too.

In an unscientific survey, a couple of people asked felt that the word did not fit the space well because it loses the concept of “local.” On its own, mocial sounds a lot like mobile+social. Where is the location? Damn it, our made up word does not actually fit the needs of the space it is describing. What are we going to do now? Molocial? Locialmo? Mobilocial?

I think we are travelling a slippery slope here.

If we truly want to have a word that embraces the direction that mobility is going, we are even missing a term that should be incorporated into mocial, one way or another. That would be the cloud. Cloud services are the backbones of apps. They provide data to the developers, help with basic functionality, cut back on the need for local storage, send push notifications. Help coders create better environments for app building tools. I do not know how we can expand this anymore … Mocolocial?

The fact of the matter is that we are out of control. The Internet has us creating pidgin words, acronyms and conjunctions for everything. It took me months in the early 1990s to figure out what AFK meant and then I wondered why the person I was trying to talk to was not there. Language is devolving into a series of truncated grunts anyway, do we have to speed it along with buzzwords that our marketing departments came up with?

How do you feel about mocial? Let us know in the comments.

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