POS Acronyms

A small rant on the rebranding of well known industry terminology to Pointless Or Silly Acronyms.

The direct cause of this rant is this article by Molly Holzschlag. She talks about an initiative by some Microformats people to rebrand the term “Semantic HTML” to POSH (Plain Old Semantic HTML).

“The idea behind POSH is to use an acronym a la AJAX to quickly disseminate the idea of semantic markup.”

Apparently, webdesigners are too stupid to think for themselves, and won’t understand what “Semantic HTML” means, but wrapping this term in yet another acronym will magically help them understand.

I’m not pulling the Ivory Tower Silicon Valley A-listers card here. That would be too easy.

Anyway, in the comments Ian Muir replies: “If we have to make up goofy acronyms to get buy-in from the non-technical, then so be it! “

Well call me a cynic, but I don’t think we should be selling things like semantics; we should be doing it! I never sell my websites on technology, but on building something the client wants. The client usually has no need to understand the technical bits of the website.

Sometimes I explain small things, usually to point out why I made certain decisions, but it is never their choice if I code my HTML semantically or not. I consider it a good business practice to do so, but it doesn’t directly involve anyone but the coders, who are perfectly aware of what semantics are.

One of the problems we face is clients who are blinded by acronyms. We once spent an afternoon convincing him he didn’t want AJAX, but he should get his server architecture in order. Advertising with acronyms can get you business, but it probably isn’t the business you want. Don’t even get me started on Web 2.0.

Ofcourse all this can be contributed to cultural differences; Americans being more susceptible to empty buzzwords, or the Dutch being to sober to fall in love with them. As such, I must conclude I won’t be drinking their Kool-aid, as the taste is too unnatural for my taste-buds.