I waited years for that iPad Air 2 to arrive and it never came. I think I’ve been filling out the forms since the start of the digital age. By the laws of probability I should have received some expensive cutting edge technology by now. Surely, if you enter millions of competitions your name is bound to be drawn out of at least one hat.
They definitely received my entries. The evidence is in my inbox, on my voicemail and cluttering up the hallway of my home. Until finally realised that the iPad never existed.
The biggest lie in modern life is no longer “The cheque is in the post” or “I love you”. The biggest lie is now: You could win an iPad.
You could, but you won’t. I can guarantee that. Has anyone you know ever won an iPad? What those five words really mean are: You will be plagued with a life time of junk mail.
You could win an iPad is just one of many digital phrases which are falsely addressed and send you to the wrong destination. The number ‘may surprise you’ as they say on the internet. (It may surprise you, but it won’t). It will be as disappointing as ‘retail secret’ that The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know About. And as mystifying as the Seven Figure income that you can earn, with no skills needed, working from home, the secrets of which a complete stranger is willing to share with you, for no apparent reason, even though this would decimate their own earning power.
Some digital phrases have a reverse logic, ‘in my humble opinion’. (You see what I did there?) Humility is a form of boasting now. Don’t be fooled when a celebrity claims to have been humbled by, say, winning an award or meeting Nelson Mandela. If they really were humbled they wouldn’t have posed for the photo opportunity and brought their make up artist along with them. In the old days, if you were humbled, you’d keep quiet about it. These days, it’s the basis of self-promotion.
Getting fired from your job is genuinely humbling. You can tell because the language used to describe this brutal act has changed. Some companies no longer ‘sack’ people but instead they throw all your belongings into a big bag and hold a leaving party for you, where you are Congratulated on your next move. Talk about Newspeak! in his book Disrupted, author Dan Lyons describes how one woman was choking back tears after being forced to leave a company with no job to go to. But she still had to attend her own Congratulations party.
Here’s another couple of contradictions. Why do digital ‘experts’ lecture us on the importance of writing ‘compelling content’. Surely anyone who uses phrases like ‘compelling content’ is incapable of writing anything you’d want to read. Also, have you noticed how over-used the word innovation is? Why don’t people think up a new word? That might even prove how inventive they are!
When a system is described as ‘intuitive’ what that really means is “you’re on your own mate. We’re not helping you.” These days only a fool would trust the promise that a technology is Plug and Play either.
Then there are the words that people use without consciously knowing what they mean. These days many companies describe themselves as solutions providers. Solutions to what? If you ask what problems they provide solutions to, they looked at you, stunned. Surely, if you are marketing your business as a provider of ‘solutions’ you should surely be able to describe the business problems you propose to solve! Or perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe their IT Solution is a liquid in which hundreds of tiny computers have been dissolved. Here, get this IT solution down your bottleneck, that’ll cure your delivery!
The digital age has disrupted more than just technology, manufacturing and distribution. It has completely changed our language too!