Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Myspace’

Every week I’ll highlight a word that catches my attention. As a marketing and communications professional, I stress simple, straightforward language in my work, however I’m always watching for the evolving lexicon of the market. For growing vocabulary, I recommend these sites: FreeRice.com, UrbanDictionary.com, InvestorWords.com, BusinessDictionary.com, Merriam-Webster Online]

 

The word for this week is — FAIL.  Maybe it’s me, but when did it become acceptable, even humorous, to denounce a person, comment, organization, government, etc. with a single word verdict?

 

FAIL as a “thumbs down” from a websphere heckler falls into the same bucket of dismissive, lazy interjections as “whatever” and “sucks”.

 

Urbandictionary.com has 41 entries for the term FAIL.  A quick Google Blogsearch for the exact phrase FAIL yields more than 7 million entries, but that includes the appropriate use of the verb, so it’s hard to sort out how pervasive its use is as a pejorative. 

 

There is even a Failblog.org site which I have to confess has some pretty funny content.

 

The bigger picture is this: I’d like to believe we’re more evolved than reducing our subjective interpersonal vocabulary to single-word backhands.  Let’s bring back intelligent, constructive conversation.  Or: “If you can’t think of anything nice to say…”

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately to license plates.  And thinking about personal branding.  Stay with me for a minute and I’ll explain.

What got me started was all the chatter in the blogosphere and Twittersphere about the possibilities and limitations of 140 characters.  Add in the debate over whether your Twitter profile name should be branded or creatively eccentric.  Mix in whacky Myspace profile display names which can look like someone fell asleep on a keyboard.  I ended up back at license plates.

Specifically, personalized license plates.  For many years we’ve had seven characters to use to semi-permanently tattoo our cars (and by being in the left-front seats…ourselves).  By my recent observation, many owner-operators have been pretty creative.  In most states, you also have to pay extra for the privilege. 

So personal branding is on four wheels all around us.  I decided to do a little data-gathering as I drove around town for a couple of weeks, pad and pen at the ready.  I live in the southern end of the Las Vegas metro area and my sample set was unscientifically small, but it didn’t take long for a pattern to develop.

Most plates fall into one of five buckets: Attitude, Profession, Affinity, Affirmation…and Dogs.  Yea, I know, people just love their dogs.  And they love New York, or at least having once lived there.

Here are the actual personalized license plates I observed.  Remember, in Nevada you have seven characters available:

Attitude:  RISS K, NSTG8TR, UNLMTD, BRAVERY, JUICY, BALLHOG, EVIL QN, AGRV8D, CRE8TV, ARTSI, PHREEK

Profession:  CAPT747, PHPGUY, MYTMIXR, VMAIL, AFTAHRS, SCADSGN, KNJRLTY, HYGIENE, HAIRS2U

Affinity:  1NY2LV, NY 2 LV, FLAG8TR, IAMQBAN, SRFNSND

Affirmation:  LIV2ROK, LVE2LIV

Dogs:  K9DROOL, MYAKITA

Makes 140 characters seem almost novel-length by comparison.  No follow-up message or further explanation.  Sometimes the vehicle the plate is attached to says a bit more about the occupant, but my observation suggests this is relatively infrequent.

So the challenge for the professional struggling to articulate his or her personal brand is this: What single statement can you make about yourself in seven letters?  Or in a 30-second elevator encounter?  Or in a cover letter?  Can you reduce yourself to a soundbite and still make an impact true enough to last?

The example I love to cite for people is this:  John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

If the essence of Christianity can be summed up in just 25 words, anyone should be able to tell their story in 140 characters.  Or seven.

Read Full Post »