Tag Archives: communication

Crestfallen. Twice.

I like making connections. So I’m often on the lookout for them. It’s fun for me to align concepts for an expanded meaning beyond what they may singularly impart. The same is true with writing: symbolism, parallelism, etc. And as a corporate communications professional, connection-making often comes in handy, whether with words, concepts or people.

Crestfallen

Wired February 2013So it was interesting for me to see an uncommon term, “crestfallen” twice in a single issue of Wired this month. The word appeared in David MacNeal’s story on mobile boombox dance parties, as well as Carl Zimmer’s story on sleuthing out deadly mutant bacteria. Both are positive stories overall, but each includes a mention of someone being crestfallen. I think that’s interesting, and am happy to report not being crestfallen at this discovery.

What do you think? Ever notice an uncommon phrase in rapid succession from multiple sources? Do you believe in synchronicity? What are your thoughts on making connections? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Words Matter. Apple Knows.

Connotation, phrasing, inference… these are all subtle colors of writing that affect interpretation. I don’t think enough businesses consider this, but it’s something Apple Inc. demonstrated keen awareness of recently in noting how its computers are no longer the iron fortresses against virus infections they were once portrayed to be.

Words Matter. Apple Knows.

Words Matter. Apple Knows. Shot via Hipstamatic, edited in PhotoForge2.

Just like the occasional operating system or software update, Apple’s wording regarding just how safe its computers inherently are got an update recently. As reported in The Atlantic

Apple is downgrading its antiviral swagger. On the company’s site, its former, blunt message — “it doesn’t get PC viruses”has been replaced by a more generic boast: “It’s built to be safe.”

And the slogan of the past — “Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.” — has been replaced by the much gentler “Safety. Built in.”

Megan Garber (& in PC World by Hamish Barwick).

More Accurate? Or CYA?

I find it very interesting how such a subtle change in phrasing notes a major shift in thinking. And perhaps Apple’s thought is that this subtle tweak will be enough to still accurately convey some benefit – although it kinda feels like a CYA to me.

Still, I find it encouraging that understanding shades of meaning and texture of words matter enough to be put into practice by one of the world’s leading companies. Words matter. Writing matters.

UPDATE: From original ace reporter, Hamish Barwick – turns out it IS a CYA:

[tweet https://twitter.com/HamishBarwick/status/218132310841761794]

What do you think? Is this an obvious CYA on Apple’s part, or a legitimately more accurate way of describing its product? What is another example you can think of? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

Social Media Business Talking Points

Image created on iPhone with Decim8 & Photoforge2 apps

So I’m reading “9 Tips That Will Change How You Use Social Media” by Jay Baer, and I go to his Google+ page (that’s one of the tips, btw). There, I see this video interview from Blogworld with Bryan Elliott of Behind the Brand and Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking.

 

Social Media Jobs

If you see social media as part of your career, consider the points Naslund makes. As a new media enthusiast, I relate to what Ms. Naslund shares here: direct talk about making the business case for social media, along with general advice on getting buy-in. If you’re in the social/new media world – or if you’re looking for a career there, or if your career now involves understanding social media, check out this video to hear it described in plain English by one who knows of where she speaks. Ms. Naslund is formerly the VP of social strategy for Radian6. Her book with Baer, The Now Revolution has structural guidance (rather than tactical, as many other books do) for businesses considering social media.

What is Social Media?

According to Naslund: “If I had to encapsulate it in something, it is…

Reducing the friction in individual communication. 

“That has long reaching implications. Think: Arab Spring, Occupy Wall St. We’ve removed barriers to communication and information in a way that is completely unprecedented. So now geography and circumstance aren’t part of that equation anymore. People can communicate and connect with each other halfway around the world in an instant, and it has profound impact on the decisions, choices and actions we take.”

5 Social Media Business Talking Points

Credit: Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking

  1. Advice to many businesses getting into social media: Slow down. It’s important that you do this, but put together a strategy first.
  2. On ROI: If you’re doing something new, you have to look at success differently. We take hugs to the bank all the time in business. Because we don’t demand necessarily that every effort turn a profit from day one – not that it shouldn’t eventually. When you’re talking about innovation, disruptive technologies, or rethinking a new business model, you have to think of success in different terms.
  3. Incremental change makes up the big change. You have to be willing to settle for – sometimes – small, tiny shifts toward the right direction. Everyone wants to change the world, but not everybody wants to take the first step.
  4. We as new media enthusiasts see a future no one else sees quite yet.
  5. Collaboration is a word we’re good at giving lip service to, but aren’t as good at putting into practice. It’s about making people feel invested in the outcome, and that they’ve got a collective reward from the result.

BONUS POINT (from me): Item #5 also applies to customers interacting with brands, as well as employees feeling a part of something bigger and seeing the rewards. How rewarding is it for a superfan to interact with a favorite brand? Ever met a celebrity or one of your heroes? Exactly. There’s value in all interactions.

What do you think? Is this a reasonable way of talking about social media? Or are we just in the “Summer of Love” at this point? (credit to Brian Solis for that). What is YOUR definition of social media? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Occupying Art

"It's wrong," the sign said, "to create a mortgage-backed security filled with loans you know are going to fail so that you can sell it to a client who isn't aware that you sabotaged it by intentionally picking the misleadingly rated loans most likely to be defaulted upon."

The point of this post is not to debate the merits of the Occupy Wall St. (and other places) protests, but rather to note some connections spurred by communication around the topic. Politics aside, I noticed something last week that I found kind of amazing.

As I commented at the original story by Marketplace, I heard this example of shared communication on the radio (streaming, via my phone), read it online, linked to it on Facebook and Twitter, and am now blogging about it.

I think it’s extraordinary — that this one guy has a thought, it gets adopted by someone in this protest, it’s a highly relevant thought, and now it’s broadcast and rebroadcast via many different channels. Will anything come of it? Who knows; my point is that we are part of communication magic, and it’s worth reflecting upon.

True, there are maddening issues spurring on the protests, and many of them are complex… adding to the maddening. And along those lines, I think this sign captures the thought that originally inspired its content, while also making a statement on the complexity and associated frustration around the issues — while also illustrating the evolution of mass media communication, given the new breadth an individual’s thoughts can achieve through technology… right to this very moment on this blog you’re reading now.

There’s something artful in the expression.

It makes me wonder if we’re indeed in a revolution, at least in terms of communication, what with having the ability to reach and influence in so many ubiquitous, yet simple ways. We walk around with computers in our pockets and can connect with someone on the other side of the globe with ease. Or, maybe I’m just noticing the traceable pathways of the communication. Still, it’s interesting to observe and document. I’m no protester, but I’m intrigued. As Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal noted, it’s all very… “woah.” And so, I was inspired to do some documenting via Instagram

I photographed this sign made by a protestor in my city over the weekend:

Occupy Winston-Salem, 10.22.11

Turns out I was subliminally giving props to Rage Against the Machine.
Which, oddly, is kinda appropriate:

Rage Against The Machine, 11.02.99

And in fact, I support long-haired freaky people,
and I actually thought I was paying tribute to Tesla

 

So hey, there’s some art — or at least the convergence of national and local events, mass media, music, and visual design. I think that’s remarkable, and I hope something can come of it, even if only reflection or informed entertainment.

Update, 10/26: not so sure I meant this kind of entertainment, from the people who brought you Puck and Snooki. Oh, well. For the story on how all this started in the first place, see the original author’s follow-up.

Have you had any transcendental communication moments lately? Do you think we’re in a revolution? Do you remember Tesla? Tell us in the comments…