Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is it ever ok to use jargon?

Jargon is unacceptable. Isn’t it?

Tell me this then, do you think there is ever a case for a certain level of business-speak in your communications?

I would genuinely like to know the answer. In journalism we were always taught to strip out anything that obscured the message, so interviewees referring to the governments RPIXY scheme would be challenged and asked to explain what they meant. But at the same time we had our own jargon with RJs and SBJs and DOGs   (Regional journalists, Senior broadcast journalists and digitally originated graphics) A great favourite in broadcasting at the moment is UGC – user-generated content and I have even heard social media types using that one, so you don’t have to be in the board room wearing a suit to be guilty.  In fact any plumber or electrician will reel off an entire dictionary of twobefour type slang.

A certain amount of shorthand can create an easy bond between equals and saves time when everyone knows what you mean.

So, if you are a business to business organisation – can your communications bear some jargon? KPIs and SLEs for example. Does it make you sound more professional – does spelling them out make you sound infantile? 

While you are pondering this, have a look at these posts from my back catalogue;  Top 10 jargon howlers  and Jargon to make you smile

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Sweet irony for social media.

No one was more surprised than I when we learned this week that poker player and quizstress Victoria Coren is to marry Radio 4 panel show stalwart David Mitchell.

I don’t know why I was so surprised – they are both intelligent single people and probably perfectly suited, I think it was just that I had her down as a serial loner and him too for that matter. I don’t dwell on celebrities THAT much in my everyday life, but there is a little bit of Hello magazine in most of us (there isn’t? Oh ok, blokes.)

Anyway, they both have a reputation for being traditionalists and curmudgeons and what’s more they don’t approve of social media much, despite having twitter accounts, so they decided to announce the news in the old fashioned (posh) way with an announcement in the Times.

Lovely or luddite?

Well you really can’t turn back the clock and before long an eagle-eyed fan had spotted the news and it was all over twitter from where most people who cared were able to pick up the news.

By the end of the day Mitchell was quoted as saying that he had received so many lovely tweets of congratulations that he had quite come round to the idea of social media.

A sweet irony don’t you think?

How to be more efficient with social media.

Everyone wastes time on social media, but if you are running a business or acting for a client, then efficiency is vital.

But how much time is too much and what are the dangers of not enough? I think we need to look at that.

Browsing a PR agencies blurb the other day I came across the proud boast that they would update their client’s social media across all platforms – wait for it – once a week! With the prices they were charging that amounted to a whole lot of cash in exchange for very little.

I update my client’s social media every working day and I know that this will take me 15 minutes each time if I am going to do it properly. What do I mean by properly – here’s a check list.

  • Posts should be well written.
  • Posts should be accompanied by an attractive photo, link or other media.
  • Posts should address an objective – whether that is simply creating a certain ambience or being helpful to a local business but don’t lose sight of your overall marketing and pr goals when you post.   

Surely you can get all that done in less than 15 minutes a day? If you post and go then maybe you can, but you also need to take time to look around. Post and go is not much different to broadcasting and maybe in those circumstances a targeted ad would be more effective?

I think you need to hang around social media a little to see what others are saying and while you do it you might perform these tasks;

  • Check your @ messages to see if people are talking about you.
  • Check your direct message to see if people are talking to you.
  • Check your new follows and decide if you want to follow back. Send them a message and maybe check out the people they follow if they look really good. 
  • Scan the tweet stream for conversations you would like to get involved with or use hashtag searches to home in on specific discussions.
  • Do a good deed – promote someone elses blog, or product but do it mindfully and with an objective – even if you simply want to be their friend or their products chime in with your vibe.

Now you need to get out before you waste too much time but don’t forget that you can make yourself more efficient by linking Facebook to Twitter or any other combination that suits you. You can try a pre-planned schedule and automated tweets but I prefer to use those with a light touch – being present, relevant and flexible is much more important. Journalists know that if a better story comes along you must ditch the plan and make a new one.  

Now I’m out of here.