Verbal “straight through processing” -please think before pressing “reply all”

A witty lawyer I was sitting next to referred to a rant from the floor of a conference we were attending as verbal “straight through processing”- her polite euphemism for “diarrhea” .

The principle of “rubbish- in rubbish out” is well known in technological circles. We’ve all experienced the garbled nonsense of football managers, politicians and other faux-experts who regurgitate received wisdom as clichéd rhetoric.

The buzz-phrase of today is the cliché of tomorrow. A sure-fire way of identifying slack thinking is the cliché-count in the expression of the thought.

We are now in the age of the re-tweet, the re-blog and the re-post where people’s ideas are circulated then re-circulated without comment. If you Re-tweet (RT) on Twitter, Twitter’s functionality discourages you from making any comment on the idea,

We are getting used to this process but it’s a lazy process.

If we absorb rubbish into our body and this passes out without any digestion, the output is messy. If we adopt technology that allows rubbish into a system, the output is falsely validated data. If we accept money for an item without checking its currency we  encourage money-laundering.

As the quantum of information passing through our inboxes increases, we may be tempted to encourage the straight through process. Whether through the cc box of our e-mails, the RT button of Twitter, the re-blog facility on WordPress or the verbal process of lazily repeating the words and ideas of others, we are simply adding to the deluge of unprocessed thought that drives us all mad!

I’m #delighted that “delighted” has been become an adjective that attracts derision among those who read press releases for a living.

Identifying the lazy use of language is part of a cleansing process that is going on on the web. I consider the phrase “working very hard to” as equally lazy. You can probably think of many such words and phrases that grate through over-use and under engagement.

A teacher at my college wrote an excellent book called “The Dramatist and the received idea” in which she argued that the dramatic process was one of challenging accepted notions so that we understood for ourselves why we behaved the way we do.

This is at the other extreme from “straight through processing” . Here the value is created by stepping back and considering rather than in reiteration.

We (and I include myself as an offendor ) could do with a little more engagement and a little less STP!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Verbal “straight through processing” -please think before pressing “reply all”

  1. Neil Rivers says:

    So eloquently put and oh so true !

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