Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The English Language has Suddenly Shortened

I was recently informed (you can call it breaking news) that an expression from TV's The Simpsons will be included in the new Collins English Dictionary: "meh" which means " a lack of enthusiasm, of being unimpressed, mediocre or boring." In addition to new words being added, there is an ongoing debate about technological expressions which tend to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar, such as website, homepage, printout and email previously seen as web site, home page, print out and electronic mail. According to, the transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of an increasing preference for "closed forms."

It seems that now more than ever, people tend to be in a hurry , running late or just can’t find enough time in the day to get everything done. I’d like to believe the acceptance of shorter, closed form phrases and words may actually buy us time. Is there anyone out there measuring how much time are we are saving by removing a hyphen and a space and abbreviating words? While we wait for a response, let’s raise our glasses in a toast “to honor all the new short words.” But first, would you like Zin or Cab?

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Out of Your Box

Webster defines collaborate “as to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.” It sounds pretty good. Another more practical explanation is that it’s the only way to get through the work day successfully.

Every day we face projects that seem like mountains if we are trying to tackle them by ourselves, but with a team member or two on your side, they are completed with time to spare. This is especially true if you are dealing with any kind of creative project. For example, take coming up with ideas for a new campaign. If you are alone, you are stuck in this little confining box called yourself, but when you bring in other perspectives, all of a sudden you are opened up to this new exciting world where there are no limits. One person will have an idea, which will spark an idea within someone else and the process just snowballs into success.

That is what this whole social media thing is all about. By yourself you are one person with one voice, trying to make a difference or be heard on whatever issue is important to you. But when you get out of your little box and join the other individuals out there, you are no longer one voice. You become many voices that will be successfully heard. So get out of your little box and be successful.

Go collaborate!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

What Not to Do

You’ve probably heard of What Not to Wear, the show where Stacy and Clinton outfit an unsuspecting fashion victim with a fresh new look that not only transforms their physical presence but boosts their self-esteem. Well, when I read this story from Julie Power at Internet Marketing Report I immediately thought of a new show one might call What Not to Do, for companies in need of a fresh new outlook on how to do business and connect with customers in an increasingly social media-driven world, hosted by Common Sense and Get With The Program.

Julie recently wrote that executives at Jack Daniels shut down a web site that Dave Child, one of their fans, had launched called because they thought it infringed on their trademark. The site - a Jack Daniels love fest - had built up quite a following and garnered more visits than any of Jack Daniels’ corporate web properties.

Scratching your head? I think Julie said it best: “Were they crazy? Doesn't every company want advocates like these? These are the rare handful of people who'll go to great lengths to tell the world how much they love your product or service.”

I understand the need to protect a brand and corporate image, but blocking the people who are passionate about helping promote that brand? Your customers and fans? Seems counterproductive to say the least.

Julie goes on to share an excerpt from Dave Child’s new blog, Added Bytes:

Still love Jack Daniel's? Umm. I know it should taste the same - they've not changed the recipe after all. Yet for some reason, I find myself drawn to alternatives...

Not a surprising conclusion to this story, but probably not the end result Jack Daniels really wanted. With the adoption of social media tools on the rise, and the power those tools provide to consumers allowing them to publicly share and influence, I think companies would be wise to join the conversation and help foster community instead of proceed down a path that disenfranchises the people with whom they want to connect. Somewhat akin to Stacy and Clinton telling you it’s time to dress age appropriate.

What do you think? Is your company wearing the wrong outlook?