Is Urban Dictionary now the media’s go-to communication resource?

Content marketing is to blame for our confusion.

Communication with slang can be an epic fail

Over the past year or two my news feed has become infected with slang – words like epic, killer and hacks.

  • 3 killer ways to create better blog traffic
  • 8 insanely simple productivity hacks
  • 5 content marketing tactics to create killer content
  • 11 hacks to make your work day easier
  • Is your social media strategy an epic waste of time and money?
  • 15 expert hacks for wannabe successful new writers
  • How to create killer content and get it seen
  • 15 secrets to driving epic traffic to your website

It took me a while to catch on but I eventually figured it out.

Traditionally, a ‘hack’ meant a rough cut, blow, or stroke. Today the term is overwhelmingly used to refer to a clever solution to a tricky problem.

Similarly, ‘killer’ is just as likely to be used as a synonym for impressive as it is to describe a person, animal or thing that kills.

‘Epic’ once referred to a long narrative about the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures. Now it describes something awesome.

Content marketing is to blame.

On a good day, my news feed is hardly news. For the most part, it’s a shortlist of content that’s been written, curated and aggregated by businesses, brands and bloggers.

The content I’m being fed (and which, in fairness, I’m feeding others) is typically written in an informal style and conversational tone.

And it’s often peppered with slang. Words like epic, killer and hacks.

I make a point of keeping up with popular culture. I like to think of myself as open-minded, modern. I enjoy working with and learning from younger generations.

Today, it all became too much for my 40-something year-old lady brain.

You see, today I discovered one of my recent blogs had been republished by B&T, a leading title for the advertising, marketing, media and PR industries. I was pleased the piece had been picked up but I was also baffled by the headline:

Is Your Content Marketing Pants?


Through LinkedIn, I contacted B&T‘s Editor-in-Chief:

Me: What does the headline even mean? It doesn’t make sense. It’s nonsensical!
Ed: Pants means rubbish.
Me: Did you look that up on Urban Dictionary?

Immediately after that exchange I consulted Urban Dictionary. Ed was right: ‘pants’ apparently now means rubbish or no good.

So why not just say that?