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

Ole J. Mjøs, Hallvard Moe, Vilde Schanke Sundet


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.


Buzzwords; Web 2.0; telematics; new media; media technology

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.