The functions of buzzwords: A comparison of ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘telematics’

  • Ole J. Mjøs Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Hallvard Moe Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Vilde Schanke Sundet Department of Film and Television, Lillehammer University College, Norway.
Keywords: Buzzwords, Web 2.0, telematics, new media, media technology

Abstract

It is a key task for media research to uncover the assumptions underpinning fashion terms like buzzwords, and to show their functions in business, political debate and social life. In this article, we ask which purposes media buzzwords serve, and for whom. We also question the presumed newness of buzzwords. By critically addressing two corresponding terms — ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘telematics’ — we argue that a media buzzword serves three important functions: it simplifies a complex field, promotes a phenomenon as something new, and legitimates strategies and actions. Thus, a media buzzword can be used rhetorically to define a discursive frame for new media developments. Further, we argue, even though media buzzwords bring forward a promise of something new, the use of such buzzwords is not new.

Author Biographies

Ole J. Mjøs, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

Ole J. Mjøs is Associate Professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway. He specializes in the fields of international communication and global media. He is co-author (with Trine Syvertsen, Gunn Enli and Hallvard Moe) of The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era (University of Michigan Press, 2014), and author of Music, Social Media and Global Mobility (Routledge, 2012) and Media Globalization and the Discovery Channel Networks (Routledge, 2010). 

Hallvard Moe, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

Hallvard Moe is Professor of media studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. His research interests include media policy, democratic theory and television studies. He is the co-author (with Trine Syvertsen, Gunn Enli and Ole J. Mjøs) of The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era (University of Michigan Press, 2014) and is currently editing (with Hilde Van den Bulck) a collection of essays on the history of teletext in Europe.

Vilde Schanke Sundet, Department of Film and Television, Lillehammer University College, Norway.

Vilde Schanke Sundet is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Film and Television, Lillehammer University College, Norway. Her research interests include digitalization and media convergence, audience participation and television studies. She is the co-author (with Gunn Enli, Hallvard Moe & Trine Syvertsen) of TV – en innføring [TV – a introduction] (Universitetsforlaget, 2010), and has published several articles in journals like Media, Culture & Society, Convergence, Media History and Nordicom Review.
E-mail: vilde [dot] schanke [dot] sundet [at] hil [dot] no

Published
2014-11-28
How to Cite
Mjøs, O. J., Moe, H., & Sundet, V. S. (2014). The functions of buzzwords: A comparison of ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘telematics’. First Monday, 19(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i12.4896