Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Today's Neologism: Buzz Police

I think I just coined a phrase!

Frankly, I am suspicious about the four(?) people who posted comments on my McDonald's/ Eric Schlosser post. They are all brand new to Blogger, and apparently all four created their profiles just to comment on my post. They had a remarkable convergeance in their message, almost as if they were working from talking points. They even used similar vocabulary (although one seems to be British, the other three are not as clear). And each seemed to systematically build on what the others were saying.

All I'm saying is that I live well inland here in East Anglia, and I smell fish.

Coincidentally, there is also a remarkable convergeance in some of the supportive responses to Steve Easterbrook's letter in the Guardian.

Now clearly, this could be sheer happenstance. There are only so many arguments to be made pro or con for a point; naturally there will be some repetition.

But also consider that companies have begun looking at blogs to monitor the buzz, as an alternate means of checking customer satisfaction. Combine this with heightened corporate vigilance about their brands, and McDonald's in particular taking specific measures to defend itself and discredit Schlosser as a new book (and a movie based on his old book) comes out, and you start to wonder if there might not be folks out there who are paid to watch the buzz on the internet. Except that these people are not mere monitors, but are charged with pushing their talking points when the buzz is not positive. These people would be called....buzz police!

And I'm pretty sure that's a new word. I can't find it in M-W online, or Urban Dictionary, or anywhere on Google. So:

Buzz police: (Noun) professionals charged with searching out ongoing conversations (usu. online) applying to certain companies or other interests, with the intention of either defending said company or interest if shown unfavourably, or else discrediting the source of this unfavourable conversation. (Ex.: "I posted something negative about Wal-Mart, and the buzz police filled my comment box with propaganda!")

I wonder if this is usually how new words come about?

Feel free to use at will -- no royalties, no copyright. But if someone asks where you got the phrase, just tell them you saw it right here in Gower Street.


Blogger Peter Young said...

The Chicago Bar Association has recently published an article in The CBA Record detailing some companies responses to "Gripe Sites". The article, by Jonathan L. Schwartz, in addition to commenting on cases brought by companies to shut down such sites points out that some companies have begun to outsource the monitoring of the internet. This "daily mining of the Internet" has turned into a profitable business for firms like Brand Intelligence, Vigil Active, eWatch and others. However, I prefer buzz cop.

Friday, April 28, 2006 4:47:00 PM  

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