Amber wrote a very thought-provoking post at Altitude last week (which I have to admit that I didn’t see in my feeds until Saturday – it was a busy week!) about the trap of Social Media Buzzwords:
You’re trying to discuss and describe the movement that is social media. Imagine you’re not allowed to say any of the following:
- You need to join the conversation
- It’s about relationships (or people)
- It’s not about the tools
- You need to be listening
Can you come up with illustrative ways to describe it’s value without resorting to the lingo and buzzwords we’ve already beat to death?
One of the powerful elements of social media has been that it strips away many of the artificial trappings that have weighed down marketing and communications for decades.
We got mired in our lingo quicksand in that traditional, push communications world. We got lost talking about brand attributes and key messages and talking points and brand promises and all those terms, and we forgot what they meant. We lived and died by our contrived, scripted fallbacks, and often propped up buzzwords in place of real strategy and action. [Emphasis mine, Ed.]
I recently moved to a small town in New Hampshire and have been busy getting to know my new neighbors and townsfolk. Often I am asked about what I do for work and I have to be very careful about my answer. I have to be careful because many of the people that I meet only use the internet for e-mail and sharing pictures.
If I were to talk like this: (yes, it’s kind of a joke)
I just had a conversation on this very topic yesterday with a client who was interested in attending a conference but was concerned about justifying and explaining the ROI and the metrics of synaptic-node-linking.
I told her that many of these conferences are portals in the new media marketspace that can provide a way to extend her personal network via a fractal geometry and optimize her social media presence.
Leveraging these connections would expand her sphere of influence many times over, creating an aura of credibility and authority that would establish her as a thought-leader and give her tremendous influence in her community. I helped her prepare a logarithmic analysis of the long-tail effects of hyper-connectivity in the e-commerce modality, and that cleared everything right up.
…I would get nothing but a blank stare and no chance to engage this person in the future about a business opportunity.
How would you describe what you do if you could not use buzzwords and jargon in your description? Let’s have some fun with this and leave your response in the comments.