Last week, Business Insider’s Brett LoGiurato compiled a list of the 17 jokes all political reporters and junkies love to make on Twitter. He included items like the hashtag #ObamasAmerica (used sarcastically to describe things like a stubbed toe or the existence of “Sharknado 2″) and the use of “gaffe” to describe virtually anything a candidate says or does on the campaign trail.
The tech world is lot like politics in at least one way: It’s filled with individuals possessing an absurd amount of wealth and power. And tech journalists respond to this absurdity in many of the same ways political reporters do. Sometimes the only way to cover these people without losing your mind and your humanity is by not taking things too seriously.
So with a heavy debt owed to LoGiurato’s excellent article, here’s your primer on Twitter tech snark:
(Note: Not all of these people are tech journalists, but the ones who aren’t generally work for tech companies or digitally-centric media companies. Or they just like making fun of tech)
1. Oreo’s “social media moment”
During last year’s Super Bowl, Oreo threw together a quick ad centered around the blackout and posted it to Twitter (“You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” was the tagline). Judging by the reaction, they might as well have cured cancer, saved the newspaper industry, and brought back “Twin Peaks” in one fell swoop. Thousands of words were spilled on the brilliance of the campaign and the speed with which it was produced. But in actuality, Oreo was just doing the same thing we all do on Twitter: Inserting their identity and commentary into some shit that’s going on.
So now whenever anything trends on Twitter, you can expect lots of suggestions to Oreo on how they can capitalize on this “social media moment.”
Man, Robert Scoble loves tech. He especially loves gadgets. He loves them so much he likes to gets naked with them. Not in the Anthony Weiner sense of things. For Scoble, it’s more like, “I want my gadgets with me always, even when I’m naked.” He’s like a never-nude only with Google Glass instead of jorts.
There was also that time he reviewed a sex toy, which I was too afraid to link click on until this very moment.
And the most Scoble tweet of all time:
3. Dave Morin’s “night iPhone”
In an infamous Q&A with Vanity Fair, Path CEO Dave Morin revealed that he has two iPhones. One for business and one for pleasure? That wouldn’t be too ridiculous. But no, he uses his second iPhone as a replacement when his day iPhone runs out of juice. Hasn’t Morin ever heard of a charger? They plug into walls, computers, or even cars!
This one also got a bump from Dave Morin’s Vanity Fair interview when he mentioned a “custom-designed, one-of-a-kind bespoke app.” Bespoke is just another way to say “custom-designed” and “one-of-a-kind” so you can forgive the Internet for pouncing on the pretentiousness of this phrase. Now the word is used to lampoon any specialized app used only by the most elite members of the digerati.
5. “Thinkpiece” suggestions
Writers gotta write, even when there’s nothing to write about. On top of that, it helps if what you can convey an original idea (even if it’s not a very good one). This Venn diagram of boredom and bad ideas results in some pretty awful thinkpieces, but some hilarious tweets.
6. Bad PR pitches
These aren’t so much jokes as they are reflections of the sad landscape of products and companies jockeying for coverage by tech blogs.
Sometimes they’re fake, in which case, all the better:
7. Fake Buzzfeed/Business Insider headlines
Business Insider and Buzzfeed use such distinctive headlines that it’s pretty easy to predict how these outlets will cover certain news stories. The formula is simple: For Business Insider, just use terms like “You’ll Never Guess…” and “[SLIDESHOW],” and for Buzzfeed, use numbers and 90s references.
8. “Sexy” gadgets
Confidence is sexy. Intelligence is sexy. Symmetrical human begins are sexy. Technological devices made out of plastic and transistors are not sexy. And any journalist that suggests otherwise is in for a world of ridicule.
9. Steve Ballmer
Microsoft is a mess. Its stock is down, the desktop market is crumbling, and its Surface tablet needed a massive price slash before anyone would buy it. But CEO Steve Ballmer’s place as social media whipping boy has less to do with his company’s failings and more to do how little those failings reflect in Ballmer’s outsized personality and bravado. This guy is fucking insane over Microsoft products, and yet time and time again the products crash and burn on the market.
Well, except the Xbox:
No buzzword is more crucial to the young tech startup or journalist’s vocabulary than “disrupt.” Not sure how to describe a company? Even if it’s your own? Take whatever industry you work in and say you’re “disrupting” it. It’s actually that simple. Is there anything that can’t be disrupted? Not likely:
[Image via Robert Scoble]