Sometimes maligned, buzzwords provide the organizing structure for our discourse about tech. They give us something to buzz about (pun intended) and provide grist for media stories and topics for monetizing analyst reports, advice, and conferences.

Let's explore buzzwords, examining their role and discussing the more popular ones in the tech world. In particular, let's look at "Big Data" and reports about its state. Is it true that Big Data (as a buzzword) is dead?

Buzzwords can be irritating, especially when they're hyped or confusing. But they are incredibly important as they relate to the larger topic of technology adoption and markets. Buzzwords, like what they label, have life cycles.

You can gain a lot by getting in early and riding the growing wave of interest in a tech segment. If you can claim leadership in a hot area, you can get media coverage and speaking slots on conference panels more easily. People pay attention to you; you're the belle of the ball. Jump in late... and you are a wannabe.

Moreover, there's a correlation between technology and buzzword adoption, and also a point at which they may diverge. The hype might die down when technology hits the mainstream, but that does not mean the tech is not still relevant or useful.

It's just that the term has hit the Platform of Productivity, in the parlance of IT analyst firm Gartner Group. The tech just works and is accepted. No big deal.

Big Data Buzzkill

Industry watchers like to handicap technology and the buzzwords that label them, chart their growth, and bet on their inevitable decline. Being the first one to say "This [tech] is dead" can be a great way to get attention.

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image of Bob Geller

Bob Geller is president of Fusion PR and a veteran of tech sales, marketing, and PR.

LinkedIn: Robert Geller

Twitter: @rgeller