The Weekly Round-Up: Christmas cards? Bah humbug

Plus: Impenetrable HR jargon and LinkedIn clich

Christmas is going high tech. By which the Round-Up is not just referring to the big pile of gadgets you'll get if you've been good this year.

Although if you are still desperately shopping, check out's gift ideas for the techie in your life, and our suggestions for presents for your boss.

Nor is the Round-Up referring to Father Christmas picking up a few ideas from about the logistics of the supply chain - although it wouldn't be a bad idea.

No: the Round-Up is referring to the humble Christmas card. You see, once upon a time, the arrival of a Christmas card from the distant relative you've never actually met used to herald the start of the season of cheer and goodwill.

These days technology is taking over and the card from Weird Uncle Gerald is more likely to be replaced by a text message from Weird Uncle Gerald, leaving you wondering first where all the seasonal cheer has gone and secondly how he got hold of your mobile number in the first place.

Three-quarters of people will send Christmas wishes via text message this year, with only a measly one in four bothering to send a greetings card.

According to a survey of over 2,000 UK mobile users, the convenience and cost of texting win out over sparkly folded cardboard as technology continues its inexorable march to replace traditional forms of messaging.


Yes, that really is what a Father Christmas smiley looks like.

Moving on, of the respondents who claimed they would send Christmas wishes via text message over half said it would be the only method they used and were ditching the card altogether. A tip from the Round-Up - this approach will almost certainly not wash with your mother.

Texting isn't the only high-tech method of sending season's greetings - over half of the people asked also said they would be sending Christmas wishes via Facebook or Twitter this year, according to the survey by And eight out of 10 grudgingly agreed to some level of personal interaction and were planning to call family and friends on Christmas Day. Brings a warm cheer to the heart, doesn't it?

And why are the bah-humbug brigade texting and not sending cards?

A bone-idle 11 per cent admitted that they simply "couldn't be bothered". Another mean 32 per cent claimed postage would cost too much while a particularly grumpy four per cent thought cards were "outdated".

Of course, sending a text instead of a card also means an end to sticking a fiver in the envelope for lucky nephews and nieces, which is a shame for them and a handy way of saving money for you, Scrooge.

Then again, as a child the Round-Up's technique for opening Christmas card was as follows:

  1. Open envelope.
  2. Shake card to see whether cheques or cash fall out.
  3. Dump card unread, spend cash on sweets.

Admittedly that strategy hasn't changed much to this day.

Anyway, on the plus side it's much greener to send texts and tweets instead of cards. Plus it saves time and money and the annual phone call to your mother asking for Weird Uncle Gerald's postal address.

On the downside, your mantelpiece doesn't look half as pretty with your mobile balanced on it rather than pretty, festive cards.

What's that? Weird Uncle Gerald actually sent a picture message. Let's have a look... AARGH! That's why we never talk to him...

Outside the nights have well and truly closed in and the winter chill is biting. Inside the office tempers are getting frayed and the attack on your inbox is relentless.

So what's there to cheer us up? Research into office terminology has revealed a fair chunk of the people you work with have no idea what you are talking about most of the time.

Care for an example? According to the report 14 per cent of people surveyed thought that "taking time off in lieu" meant time spent in the toilet. Another four per cent believe it is time spent in a place called Lieu.

The Round-Up's just getting started.

An HR consultancy conducted research with over 1,100 employees to find out the level of misunderstanding about common workplace and HR jargon. There was quite a lot. Probably because a lot of it is jargon.

Annual leave. Pretty straightforward? Think again. Thirteen per cent of respondents thought it meant "time off for one complete year", compared with another deeply confused six per cent who thought the term meant time out of the office for training.

Blue sky thinking? Almost one in 10 thought "working outside" was the correct answer. The Round-Up rather likes that one, and so next time the boss suggests some blue sky thinking, the Round-Up will show him the door.

Georgina Read, co-founder of which conducted the research, said: "Some of the misconceptions are understandable. However, I do think it is a little silly to think that an employer would keep a record of the amount of time a person spends in the toilet."

You've clearly never worked in some of the places the Round-Up has worked, Georgina.

Now, if the overwhelming stupidity of your workmates demonstrated by the research has you wanting to find a new job in January, you are not alone.

Eight out of 10 techies are planning to make a move next year. So step one is to revamp your LinkedIn profile while there's not much else to do in the office. And don't forget to join the LinkedIn group. It's where all the best people are.

But what - apart from your profile photo - really makes people cringe when they look at your LinkedIn profile? Well according to LinkedIn's own blog, it's clichéd words and phrases.

Its analytics team have come up with a list of the most clichéd and overused phrases for the past year using over 85 million LinkedIn profiles.

The top 10 overused buzzwords include "extensive experience", "innovative" and "motivated" as the top three.

And if you're about to describe yourself as a "fast-paced entrepreneurial problem solver with a dynamic proven track record as a team player" then you've just used clichés eight, 10, nine, five, six and seven, in that order. UK profiles are most likely to use the word "motivated" probably because we aren't.

But the moral of the story: if you want to stand out from the pack, put a thesaurus on your Christmas list.

And with that, the Round-Up is off to tuck into a festive mince pie. It will be back in January, so until then, the Round-Up and all the splendid people in Silicon Towers wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.