Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for


Is New Media Making Communication Too Casual?


Earlier today, I saw a tweet from one of my friends to his wife. It simply said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart!” Part of me smiled and felt those warm fuzzies. The other part of me…well…cringed.

Now, since this duo lives together, I can only assume that he said Valentine’s Day to her in person as well, but what if this isn’t the case? Let’s say I don’t love with my significant other – is a Valentine’s Day tweet “enough”? Is a text better? Is an email better? Is a voice mail better? If they all say the same thing – Happy Valentine’s Day – why is one way of communication better than the other?

Helllo, Hello

Let’s switch gears for a moment (I swear we’ll circle back around to the Valentine’s Day tweet at the end), and talk about the last few emails you’ve sent and received. The new media world has created this weird ability to “get to know” someone without ever interacting with them, the same way we’d “get to know” a movie star or other type of celebrity. So, when emailing someone for the first time, it’s always a little awkward.

I get emails all the time that start off with “Hi Allison…” – and not from people I know. From people I’ve never met who have a question or comment. It’s a little awkward when someone is pitching me. Part of me thinks, What the heck? You people don’t know me. What ever happened to Ms. Boyer?

And yet, when I do get emails that call me Ms. Boyer, they feel way to stuffy and part of me things, What the heck? You people couldn’t even do enough research to find out my first name is Allison?

I’m a hard girl to please.

Things are even worse when I have to send an email to someone I don’t know personally, especially when I’ve been reading their blog for years. Do I go with Mr./Mrs./Ms.? Do I use a first name? Should I go with the first-last combo? Oh god, should I even be emailing this person at all?

And there there’s the situation to consider. What if I’m applying for a job? What if I’m a lot older than the other person? What if I’m a lot younger than the other person? What if I know they read my blog or we follow one another on Twitter, but we’ve never actually spoken?

And what if I’m calling instead? Do I ask for the person by first name?

Please tell me that I’m not alone in having a slight panic attack over communicating with people I haven’t met yet.

100 years ago when sending a letter to someone – heck, even 20 years ago – we would have never thought twice about this. No one sent letters to people they didn’t know without using the proper, formal salutation.

I Feel Like I Already Know You!

The reason the email salutation thing is even an issue at all is before new media makes it really easy to get to know everything about a person’s life without ever actually speaking to one another. People make an astonishing amount of information about themselves public. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met someone at a conference or event for the first time and they say, “I feel like I already know you!” And I’m not immune to it – I feel like there are people online that I know pretty intimately, yet they probably don’t even know I exist.

It’s a little creepy, right? It’s also a little sad. We’re substituting actually forming relationship with just reading about a person’s life.

On the other hand, it’s also kind of cool. We’re able to meet people we otherwise would have never gotten to meet without social media and blogs. Some of my best friends are people I’ve met online. That’s pretty awesome.

The problem comes when you forget that people show only the best version of themselves online. I talked a little about this earlier together when I talked about online dating. When you meet someone in person and really get to know them (not just read their blog), the result isn’t always what you were expecting.

New Communication isn’t Bad Communication

It’s human nature to be scare of things that are new. But new media is also very exciting. We have all these new, fast ways of connecting with people that we didn’t have before. A tweet (or Facebook wall message or whatever) doesn’t have to be better or worse than any other form of communication. It’s all about the how and why.

Are you using Facebook to break up with someone because it’s too upsetting to do it in person? Fail. Are you using Facebook to invite someone to your party because it’s the best way to contact lots of people at once and allow them to RSVP? Win.

New media becomes a communication problem when we’re using it to avoid other forms of communication, but these tools can be awesome too.

Too Casual?

So the real question here, the one I asked in the title of this post, is this: is new media making us too casual with one another? And my personal answer to this question is both yes and no.

Yes, because it makes it easy to forget that someone real is behind that avatar. It makes us lazily tweet Happy Valentine’s Day when we should connect with that person in real life, broadcast “Happy Holidays” messages when we should write individual cards (or at least individual emails), and endorse people we “know” without taking the time to learn more about what they’re really like behind the persona they present online.

No, because new media allows us to connect in entirely new ways with more people than would ever be possible without online resources. We can send messages faster, make declarations of love public, and allow lots of people to get to know us via our blogs and profiles.

What do you think? Are new media tools making too casual with communication?

Keeping Profanity Out of the Dialogue


… by Marcus Sheridan

Many of you will not agree with what I’m about to say within this post. And to be honest, that’s OK. This is a subject that has been rolling around in the back of my head for quite some time now and it’s one that no one in the blogosphere has spent much time addressing. So despite the fact that some may be quite put off or offended by the following words, I feel it’s time I put my thoughts to pen regarding what I feel is a rather important subject—Profanity and Communication.

The subject to this post really started a few months ago when I attended a seminar of a very good speaker. The presenter was passionate, maintained his audience, and had obviously put quite a bit of thought in his message. But despite these positive traits, I was surprised to hear him use 4 or 5 curse words during his presentation.

Now I know you may be wondering what the words were. Let’s just put it this way, they were rather mild. Heck, they were words that one could easily find on the television in 2011. Notwithstanding, I was concerned for this speaker because I knew that some of the people in the audience wouldn’t necessarily share his passion for such vernacular.

Don’t be Fooled by Your Audience

Shortly after the presentation, I commenced talking to a gentleman who, at first site, would be viewed by many as a ‘good ole boy’—boots, cowboy hat, and the faded jeans to fit the bill. Upon asking him his thoughts on the seminar, he rather surprised me with the following statement. It went something like this:

‘I didn’t appreciate that man’s language’.

And that, my friends, was this good man’s lasting memory of what was in reality an excellent discourse. By simply sprinkling in less than a handful of ‘curse’ words, the speaker had completely lost at least one of the members of his audience. This, in my opinion, is a crying shame.

Principles Remain True

Some of you may think this is silly. Others might say, ‘Well it’s 2011, times have changed’. Frankly, I’d beg to differ. In fact, I submit the principles of great communication are as applicable today as they were 100 or even 1000 years ago.—-If you can deliver a great message, without offending parts of your audience, then why wouldn’t you?

Now before any of you start thinking that I’m here to judge someone for their use of the English language, allow me to say I am not. I’ve got too many personal issues to correct before I start judging others and the way they talk. I don’t care if you cuss like a sailor. But the idea of cussing like a sailor around other people who don’t share such linguistic patterns is, may I say, disrespectful and potentially quite detrimental to your influence and ultimate earning power.

False Assumptions…To What End?

So many speakers and writers just assume everyone speaks and uses profanity the way they do, oblivious to the fact that there are thousands and thousands of people online this very second that are offended by hearing and reading curse words.

Along these same lines, I’ve come across many in the blogosphere that go out of their way to profane. It’s almost as if they can’t put a thought together without adding a 4-letter word for more supposed emphasis.

As a reader, I understand I have a choice to move to the next blogger. But such isn’t my point. My point here is WHY? Why must great speakers and writers use such language? Is it really that necessary? I dare say it’s not.

The Language Legends

Bill Cosby is arguably one of the greatest comedians and actors of the late 20th century. I grew up watching The Cosby Show and was brought to ‘happy’ tears with Cosby’s hilarious stand-up routines discussing parenthood, family, etc. Cosby was loved by almost everyone of that generation and never once did he feel the need to interject profanity into his efforts to make others smile.

Jim Rohn, in my opinion, was the greatest self-improvement expert of the second half of the 20th century as well as the beginning of the 21st century until he passed away in 2009. During his lifetime, Rohn touched millions of people by speaking at thousands and thousands of seminars across the globe. And how many of those millions heard Rohn curse?

Zero. None. Nada. Zilch.

Need other examples? Well there’s Ghandi, Obama (in public), News anchors, etc—-the list goes on and on.

Get to the Point Marcus

I cite these examples because it makes no sense to me why so many speakers and writers feel like they can’t be effective without the use of curse words. Fact is, such a style does not add to one’s skills, and although it might make a few people laugh or giggle or think the orator is ‘cool’, there will also always be others who become offended and end up saying ‘enough is enough’.

Therefore, if we, as professionals in our field truly desire to touch as many people as possible, why would we risk our effectiveness over a few simple words? Is it really worth it? Can we do better? I say we can, which is why it is my hope that we can all reach our communication potential and touch as many lives as possible.

To close, may I simply refer to this famous quote, the author of which is unknown:

“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both”

What are your thoughts on the subject? Join me tonight at #BWEchat on Twitter at 9:00 EST. We’ll be discussing Swearing in Social Media and I’ll be joined by Jason Falls of Social Media Examiner.

The story of Marcus Sheridan is a unique one. In 2001, he stumbled across his first business with two friends and began installing swimming pools out of the back of a beat-up pickup truck. 9 years later, and with the help of incredible innovations through inbound and content marketing, Sheridan’s company became one of the largest pool installers in the country and currently has the most visited swimming pool web site in the world.

With such success, in late 2009, Sheridan started his sales/marketing/and personal development blog—The Sales Lion, and has since grown it to one of the strongest blog communities on the web. With so much success teaching others about content and inbound marketing, Sheridan has now moved on to become a very popular keynote and business speaker, known for his boundless energy and contagious enthusiasm when on stage.

Social Networks Changing The Way We Communicate


Remember the days of long winded phone calls, answering machine messages that filled up the entire tape, handwritten letters delivered by snail mail, or worse, horses?  Yeah, me either.  Those days are fading further and further into obscurity with every day that passes and the simple fact is this:  We do not communicate with each other like we used to.  At all.

The question then, is why?  What is changing and why is it changing?  When did the shift from length to brevity take place and will it continue to do so.  As far as blame, that’s a bit trickier to pin down but one thing is for certain:  Social networks and new social media is walking around with a giant bullseye on its back for playing a major role in exactly how we express ourselves, and how many characters we’re given to do so.

The fact is, status updates and “what’s on your mind” is rapidly replacing email conversations and back-and-forth dialogue.  We are all able to now express ourselves in tiny packages, what we’re doing, thinking, feeling and believing in 140 character tidbits.  I guess the question is Why?  When UPI.com asked FriendFeed founder Paul Buchheit these very same questions, here’s what he had to offer about the changing landscape of communication:

“I think it’s a new form of communication; not quite e-mail, more lightweight and more real time, often with a little bit of a publishing flavor to it…”

Yammer founder David Sacks agreed, saying:

“What people want to do on social network these days is post status updates…We think it’s all people want to do.”

It’s all changing, it’s all happening.  How do you feel about it?  Careful…you only have 140 characters to answer that…

Learn About NMX


Recent Comments