What silly words say about the people who use them.
April 21, 2010 by Olivier Blanchard
Evidently, some “experts” still refer to Social and Mobile as “emerging” media. Um, no. Stop. Watch this video by Loic Lemeur and pay particular attention to the second half. He catches an interesting semantic flaw in an otherwise interesting report he outlines in his video.
1) “emerging” is always going to qualify a state of adoption rather than a type of media. It isn’t good terminology. Neither is “new media” for that matter.
2) Neither Social nor Mobile qualify as emerging. Mobile is evolving and scaling, sure, but it isn’t emerging. Facebook’s scale has also long transcended “emergence.”
Beyond the topic of “emerging media,” other words, terms and concepts commonly misused in the new world of Social and Digital Communications:
- Social Media Campaign
- Social Media Presence
- Social Media Manager
- Impressions (By the way, can we please scratch the term “impressions” from the Marketing lexicon once and for all? Thanks. That would be nice. Especially when dealing with Social.)
Look, here’s the deal: True experts know the vocabulary of their respective fields of study/practice. I am not implying that having mastered the Social Media lexicon makes someone an expert in the subject, but rather that no expert will get the basic vocabulary wrong: Plumbers, surgeons, snipers, cobblers, tailors, architects and masons know the vocabulary of their trade. Social Media “professionals” worth their fee (whether analysts, consultants, trainers or practitioners) do too. Simple enough.
Olivier, I agree. Especially on the misuse of “emerging”. However, when we talk about plumbers, masons, and architects, we’re discussing professions that have had hundreds of years to develop their respective lexicons. Don’t you think part of what perpetuates the misuse of language in our profession is the continued evolution (I won’t use emergence) of the terminology itself? Social Media, for instance, is a term that would have had little prevalence or relative context as recently back as early 1990’s.
That’s a good point, Mark. True: Social is a young and fast evolving space with a rapidly changing vocabulary.
That said, professionals still tend to stay on top of the vocabulary of their trade, no matter how ephemeral it may be. It’s a matter of professional pride, at the very least. In my experience, it’s inevitable that people who truly live their profession use the right terminology, just because they are in contact with it so much.
At any rate, calling something “emerging” or “new” is essentially like saying “we don’t know what to call it yet because we just discovered it ourselves.” That’s fine and all, but this should no longer apply to Social or Mobile.
I always enjoy your post. Spot on. I just had the “impression” conversation with our principal. He said the same thing: “I’m not using the word impressions with my clients anymore. It does not mean much of anything!”
I’m going to post a video to on top of your video to go on top of Loics.
“Social” as a consumer mindset has been growing for 15 years and over the last 10 has pretty much been the predominant mindset – so this talk of emerging is just bull.
When they say “emerging” they really mean “we can’t explain it”
The problem with so many consulting firms is they’re very good at collecting data, but evidently, a good number of their “analysts” and “experts” have absolutely no clue how to interpret it or put it in context. There is a HUGE insight and practical knowledge gap in those ranks, which I find deplorable.
Leave a Reply