Dear god, for all that is good and natural in the world, let them stop. They are unholy, uneeded and most of all a massive pain to deal with. At the very least, can all the marketers and technogeeks of the world just agree on a single set of them for the rest of us?
It was with great displeasure today that I realized that ISO was being used in the context of In Search Of for a posting on Craigslist. At first, the posting seemed interesting because I thought it was dealing with the International Standards Organization and working with them. But alas, it was about some company looking for some low level person to do some kind of low level work in what was probably the lower level of their office in downtown SF.
Another great one is the term SMB which in salespeople blather is Small & Medium Businesses. In my world and the world of others, this has stood Server Messaging Blocks for quite a long time. It’s the file sharing system that Windows is built on and when stretched out in to something more memorable, also called Samba when used for Linux.
It basically comes down to listening to the context and the type of person you’re speaking to which just isn’t fair to those of us that want to completely lasy in our conversations. I can’t think of any occasions where there have been three meanings for an acronym, but I’m sure they’re out there and growing, but this isn’t a new thing that’s tied in to only English. For instance, “rat” (pronounced rot) in Croatian means both “beach” and “war”. The only way you know the difference is the context because naturally “I’m going down to the war to work on my tan.” doesn’t make much sense. I have no idea how it came about, but my friends who speak it, just shrug like it’s no big thing.
Like I said at the beginning, somewhere down the road we need to make sure that the marketing people don’t trample on words that geeks have very happily claimed and I guess sure… vice versa.