Acronyms and Jargon: The Disease in a Network

Andy Narracott

Andy Narracott

Venture capitalists like business models with network effects. It helps a business grow quickly.

Network effects occur when each new user adds value to the existing user base.

So for example, Facebook works better when your family and friends are on there, so you encourage them to join because it’s better for you. Same with YouTube. People will post their videos there because that’s where all the videos live.

Language also enjoys network effects. If English was the most common language used in a University, new comers are going to want to speak English because they’ll make more friends and learn more things.

When a network of people is speaking the same language, it has an incredibly powerful effect. The transfer of knowledge moves faster. Complex concepts are understood better. New ideas are developed at a faster rate.

So for a network of people to be successful, they need to communicate well. Which is why the use of jargon and acronyms inhibit network effects.

Think about the diffusion of a new concept or solution through a network of people. The more complex the language used to describe it, the less it is understood. So fewer people will see its value and fewer people will adopt it.

Compare that to a concept described in plain English. When more people understand, there are more pathways for the concept to take through the network. So the quicker it spreads.

So next time you’re thinking of promoting an important concept, avoid jargon and acronyms like the plague. Think about communicating it in a way that helps it spread, rather than hinders it.

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