Blog Post

The death of Old Speak

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 20 January 2007



The death of Old Speak
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateSaturday 20 January 2007 08:10 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/01/enough_already_.htm ... 

I met Stowe Boyd at a Unicom Social Tools conference I chaired last year. I was impressed with what he had to say about social tools. I felt that unlike many other people he really understood what they were and what they were about. So I did one of my mini-interviews with him and asked him "what are social tools?" to which he gave a great little reply.

But he has just written a great blog post entitled Enough Already: Getting Social Media All Wrong in which he 'has a go' at some of the corporate marketing types who 'still have not got it' and are trying to use social media to their old corrupt ends.

In a nutshell Stowe says:
Drop the old speak: no more "audience", no more third-party writing, no more "wink, wink" complicity in totally false quotes and knowingly working with clients on spin instead of open dialogue.
I have been saying some of this for an age - for example my article on Personally Speaking recently in InsideKnowledge Magazine and as for words like delegates, consumers, audience etc - they are words of the past. At conferences, for example, I use the word participants or simply people. If I catch anyone using the old words - I know they have not 'really got it'!

Looking back I discovered this for myself some 6 years or so ago when I first started my website and knowledge letter and realized that I did not have to write like the large corporates to establish my credentials - all I needed was to be was myself and to talk in my own voice.

Stowe elaborates on his comments - enjoy: (my bolding by the way!)
Please, please, please don't talk about audiences when you are theoretically promoting social media. As Jay Rosen has suggested, we are the people formerly known as the audience. Blogging is not just another channel for corporate marketing types to push their messages to markets, eyeballs, or audiences. Social media is based on the dynamic of a many-to-many dialogue between people. Yes, people: that's the word that should have been used. Not audience. If you'd like to make a distinction between a company and those outside the company, just remember: they are not an audience for your messages, any more than you are an audience for theirs. The whole point is that the people formerly known at the audience -- the edglings, as I call us -- are participating in the blogosphere, and if individuals within companies want to, they can participate: as individuals. Companies don't blog, or converse: people do.

The "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" complicity of leading PR bloggers around serious flaws in the conventional notions of PR is lamentable. For example, seeing the bloggers acknowledge on one hand that CEOs don't actually provide those quotes that are stuck into press releases while on the other hand promoting transparency and openness in corporate communications was more than painful. We should simply state, unequivocally, that such things are not social media: they are old style, push marketing crap. They are exactly the things that lead us to question the motives, influence, and truthfulness of stupid, old line companies who just don't get it.

I could similarly howl about the disembodied third-person voice of press releases, which also does not translate into social media. Everything is written by someone, or a specific group of people, but press releases read like the stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai: written by the omniscient hand of God. Likewise the excessive hyperbole and surfeit of superlatives of press releases is distasteful at the least, and demeaning at the most.
Well said Stowe!

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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