Rant: Companies, Please Stop Calling Things ‘HD’

Rant: Companies, Please Stop Calling Things ‘HD’

HD is our decade’s extreme. People know the two letters well — and they like them! — because of HDTV. That’s fine, because HDTV actually means something: certain, set lines of resolution. But “Swiffer HD Clean”? I feel like screaming blood.

Swiffer makes fine cleaning products. My floors get dusty. Maybe yours do too. Great. They clean up the dust. I like that! And hey, if they want to improve the ability of their floor cleaning stuff to clean floors — attaboy! But calling their new line of rags and whatnot the “HD” series is asinine. Aside from being untruthful (what definition has been increased? Is there an embedded LCD on the mop handle?), and completely incoherent (HOW CAN A CLEANING PRODUCT BE HD?), this kind of terminology abuse makes everyone dumber. It cheapens the word. How cheap? This cheap:

“The new and improved Swiffer Dusters clean better than a dry dust cloth and are coated with Dust-Lock™ Adhesive that combines textured dusting strips with thousands of dust locking fibres to clean better than a regular dry cloth, even in tight and hard to reach places”

It’s like I’m seeing clean with brand new eyes!

“Swiffer is going beyond traditional methods to deliver a clean so extraordinary that the definition of clean as we know it has been elevated to the idea of ‘High Definition.”

No. NO. Whoever wrote that should be thrown into a bag of mud.

Words have meanings. High definition may be vague, but it does mean something: an increased level of resolution conducive to an appreciable jump in sensory input. Or something along those lines. But it has some technical basis, when used in the video realm.

What’s HD about Swiffer? Absolutely nothing. What’s HD about Intel HD graphics and audio? Absolutely nothing — nobody would point to these as paragons of computer audio-visuals. HD Radio is one of the biggest frauds ever pushed upon people with ears, a sad stretch by a fading medium to con customers into buying something they don’t need.

Companies will try to sell things, because that’s what they do. But bandying around the HD label insults and confuses the people who might buy them. Go ahead and use dumb buzzwords — but don’t taint words that actually signify something. We need those.