One of the unexpected benefits of social media its is forcing communicators and marketers back to plain speaking.
Corporations and organizations are insular by nature. Like gated communities. This natural isolation with peers and like-minded individuals results in the development of specialized languages. Short-cuts are taken with communications. This is natural because everyone in your group understands these short-cuts. People adapt and learn to use the jargon of their trade. So communications becomes laden with acronyms and industry-specific buzzwords.
Unfortunately, this language often creeps out and infects external communications. And outsiders become confused by jargon they don’t understand.
In public relations this is how we end up with buzzwords weighing down external communications efforts. Jargon like: best-of-breed, award-winning, turnkey, easy-to-use, leading edge, state-of-the-art, top-of-mind, thought leadership, mission critical, real-time, win-win, scalable and dozens of others.
But even worse than consumers and media not comprehending jargon is the fact that jargon is unspecific and vague. So readers exposed to it often put their own definitions to buzzwords.
For example, the popular buzzword “long tail” may be defined by marketers as larger portions of consumers residing within the tail of a probability distribution. But consumers likely define it as being the lengthy extremity of a rat.
Social media, however, has an opportunity to break through jargon and marketing speak. Talk like a marketer on Twitter and Facebook and you risk the wrath of your audience. They want clear, concise and descriptive language not the ponderous lexicon of the insider.
Social media is the language of conversation. The goals being connection and engagement. It’s hard to hold a fruitful conversation if both parties aren’t speaking plainly.
Hopefully, companies and organizations will take the lessons of social media and apply it to other aspects of communications.
What about you? Have you seen social media making other aspects of your marketing and communications more plain-speaking?