Do You Speak The Language Of Social Media? [Comic]

Is your social media jargon confusing your co-workers, clients, employees, or boss?

Working in social media in my day job and my night job, I spend a LOT of time around social media geeks.

The other day, I overheard an entire conversation that was so full of social media lingo and jargon that it was like a whole new language.

It went something like “If we post the blog should we tweet about it in the same hour? Or should we wait so we can attribute it to the RSS feed and email list who receives the new post notification?”

While I understood what the terms meant, I asked myself what I would think if I were an executive at a company that just didn’t understand social media. Would this whole new language irritate me? Frighten me?

Would I be concerned that a new generation was talking in terms that I just didn’t understand?

This question was a pretty straight-forward one if you are somewhat involved in marketing or technology.

But, what if I threw a few more social media terms in there like “pin, post, share, like, gram, snap, and chat”? I could literally make a cohesive sentence that sound something like this:

If we post the tweet and then pin the image, we can also gram and snap it in the same hour. If we do that, we can measure the likes, favs, and shares to see if the blog is performing as we expected. Later, we can embed a video to see if subscribes increase.”

If you’re into social media, that entire sentence probably made sense. If you aren’t into social, it probably sounded like Klingon.

Think about it for a second. From an age perspective, a lot of company executives still fall in the “Boomer” generation. For them, the following terms had completely different meanings:

Tweet

To you – A message that you sent on Twitter.

To them – A noise that a bird makes.

Gram

To you – The post you just shared on Instagram.

To them – The measurement of weight using the metrics system.

Post

To you – Your latest blog article or Facebook message.

To them – Could mean mail, could mean a newspaper.

Viral

To you – A good thing because your content is being share rapidly.

To them – A bad thing because they are going to need a shot.

…and I could go on.

Is your social media jargon making it difficult for others in your company to understand you?This guy is trying to figure out what a measurement of weight has to do with sales…

How does this sentence make you feel --> If we post the tweet and pin the image, we can also gram and snap it in the same hour. Then, we can measure the likes, favs, and shares to see if the blog is performing. Click To Tweet

So here’s a tip to all those who are working to educate their leaders and organizations on the value of social media.

While helping them understand the terms is important, don’t make your conversations overly cryptic with a lot of jargon. Consider your audience and their understanding of the space and try to help them understand what specific terms mean and why they’re important.

Use business terms and explain how social media works using stories and case studies. Heck, take some time to learn some of the marketing terms they are used to and translate those into modern-day activities.

If you can show the value without all the jargon, you’ll have a much easier time selling it in and your execs won’t think they have to take a class in Klingon just to engage.

When you are helping other understand the value of social media, be sure to use business terms that the other person understands, not just social media jargon

Have a funny story about social media jargon? Have a tip for helping your company leadership understand it? I’d love to hear about it in a comment!

Cheers!

–Sean

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Comments And Reactions

  1. Spot on Sean. I personally believe in taking it out of the clouds and using some down to earth examples. There are many correlations that can be drawn to help those not as involved in social as we truly understand it.
    If the entire point is actual communication ~ why create stumbling blocks to accomplishing that end?

  2. Great comic!
    Kas

  3. When they like me they follow me like fans, they might pin some of my stuff and fav some of my tweets (that’s when a w takes its importance). I have a lot of klout but could use more instagram. I msn but I don’t digg. I rarely have time for my farm ville anymore. If you stumble upon me, it’s cool; if not just xeeme, ok? Lately am on trust cloud.

  4. LOL! Awesome comic! it is funny the unique language we all speak when we talk about social media.

  5. Did you watch the 1st presidential debate? Coverage on PBS included one social media correspondent. It appeared to me that most of her commentary was met with glazed-over eyes by the other correspondents. It is very important to know your audience, but I suppose her audience was not the other correspondents. I chuckled about it.

  6. Social Media is a whole new language 🙂

  7. Spot on Sean – but it’s just as important for the C-Suite executives to get on board. If underlings hesitate to communicate in the new language that has become part of our new lexicon to their bosses – its says something about the upper strata and their unwillingness to keep up with the times.


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