Assuming you’re not Amish, you’ve probably noticed that the world has gone and gotten itself into one big hurry these days (yes, that’s an homage to Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption, and yes, I have nothing but respect for the Amish – though I doubt any will read this). Why spend precious time saying “by the way, I’m rolling on the floor laughing and I can’t get up” when you can say BTWIROTFLAICGU? So it goes (yes, that’s Kurt Vonnegut) – the long, slow accretion of civilized language almost instantly devolves into acronym soup. Or evolves, depending on your taste. Problem is, acronyms don’t always go before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) before use, so they can stand for whatever anyone says they stand for. Take SEO, for example – it means these things, too:
- Software Executive Official – This is the kind of title they make up and give you in lieu of an actual pay raise.
- Survivability Enhancement Options – Helmets? Seatbelts? Earplugs for Neil Diamond concerts? (Really, couldn’t they find anyone better this season for an Idol mentor? I would have much preferred Neil Young.)
- Synthetic Engine Oil – From what I hear, this is actually a good thing, especially when Wired just predicted $7 per gallon gas coming up.
- Symbol-Error Outage – Is this when a power plant operator confuses “O” and “I”?
- Site Enhancing Oils – Why bother with a web designer or SEO when you can just pick up a bottle of Formby’s Site Enhancing Oil (with bonus foam applicator) at Home Depot?
Five alternate meanings for SEO and here are more courtesy of The Free Dictionary:
- Science and Education Outreach
- Seasoned Equity Offering
- Security Engineering Officer
- Senior Executive Officer
- Shutdown Electrical Operator (US Navy submarine watchstation)
- Sociedad Española de Ornitología (Spanish bird society)
- Society of Education Officers (UK)
- Software Engineering Organization
- Source Election Official
- SouthEastern Ohio
- Special Equipment Operator
- Special Equipment Option
- Special Exemption Order (UK)
- Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
- State Engineers Office
- Synchronous Equatorial Orbiter
- Systems Engineering Office/Officer
- Systems Evaluation Office
- Server Extension Objects
- Subscriber End Office
*Someday Soon, Everything Will Be Acronyms