Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trust Agent, Community Managers, Social Media Marketers, Interactive Marketing Strategist.... industry jargon

Bottom line each of these titles does basically the same job. At the end of the day they are just titles, like social media, and people just use these words to try and help explain what they do, why and how they do it. In communication having common terminology and jargon just speeds up the understanding process. In social media we are explorers and scientists in a new field pioneering the murky waters trying to understand what makes the difference between success and failure. The problem is, since all of these buzz words are just new shiny objects that we use and sometimes quickly discard like children in a toy fad, well our customers can't and don't want to keep up. I have hundreds of friends spanning from teens to late 60's who love technology or hate it. Who want to understand it, but don't want to put the time into figuring out even the simplest of terms (or so we like to think).

My guess is that most people reading my blog are in one of the following industries or take a large interest in those industries (correct me if I'm wrong): PR (public relations), Marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), Designers, Web Developers, Social Media, Information architecture, software developers, entrepreneur, traditional media, and every other interactive/advertising agency position -- like account executives etc. Why is this important? Because you know my jargon. Now go out into the real world and meet a friend who works at target, a friend in promotions, a plumber, an engineer, or a handyman. All of these people may or may not be intelligent, but they have their own termonology and do not understand your accronyms. You want a prime example of this? Try reading any military paper work-- or hell just read their monthly newsletter. It is so full of this kind of verbage that if you haven't been in the service their is no way you could even understand the first sentence.

So what am I getting at? Well, think back to when you first joined the industry. Did you know what interactive meant, or how about PR, SEO, the difference between an art director and a creative director, what is a press, who the hell does information architecture or social media? Or hears an easy one, say twitter to a stranger and see if they think your crazy just explaining it. Now those were just the easy ones imagine explaining the difference between search engine marketing and search engine optimization, or brand management, your designs, design testing, design optimization, reputation management, html coding, flash coding, optimizing a press release, what 101001 means, why someone should use or benefit from social media, or what a flight line is. Okay, I just threw in the last one for my pilot friends and to through you off.

Anyway point is we all come from different backgrounds. Even within an agency designers and programmers often have translation troubles. Worse yet is if you don't read blogs, books, magazines, and other industry articles you can quickly fall behind in your own industry. I hate to just call someone out, but for example sake, the PR industry has been a prime example of falling behind. Many don't know very much about social media, seo, optimizing press releases, online press releases...and the list goes on and on. The true victim here would be your clients. So continue to learn, attend industry events, join networking groups, join professional affiliations, volunteer, read, write, and contribute to your industry. You would be surprised at the heights you can reach with a little motivation, networking, and some effort on your part. Oh and when your explaining things to people in other industries, be curtious and remember the old saying: "Keep it simple, Stupid."

If you have anything to add to this feel free to comment below, or contact me on twitter @desaraev. My personal website is if you need an "industry person" to help you out with your marketing, social media, or design needs. As always feel free to take this article and redistribute it as you like, but remember to link back to my blog. It's polite ;)

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