“I can only understand one out of every three words you said.”
– Recent attendee at one of my speeches on social media.

Yes, fear kills social media. And perhaps the biggest creator of fear in this business is the actual terms we use to describe conversational media. Nomenclature presents a significant barrier for many just trying to figure out what all the hub-bub is about.

Recently I bought a T-1 line for my new office. The terminology in buying a commercial grade switch and phones was so bad I had to keep asking the service provider to explain to me what the equipment was in English. And I sued to work in telecom five years ago. Wow!

It reminded me of the horrific barrier to entry that we, the social media community, create. Consider these words:

  • Followers
  • Reader
  • RSS
  • Badgers
  • Widgets
  • FriendFeed
  • Socnet
  • Tweeting
  • and on and on. If you are a normal person, this will read like Chinese:


    There is a real need for Mike Sansone’s glossary of social media terms. Is it any wonder those not indoctrinated look at social media and want to run away? Is this what we really intended when we were coming up with all of our cool words?

    My final thought as we the social media community develop the next BrightKite: Are we really creating something new and special for society? Or is it by its very nomenclature exclusive and antisocial. Maybe that can reverberate in the echo chamber for a little while.

    Per my good-bye post on Friday, this will be my last appearance on Now Is Gone. You can continue to read my marketing posts on the Buzz Bin.

    2 Replies to “Nomenclature”

    1. It’s a very valid point.

      When someone first tossed the terms Web2.0 & the Social Media Sphere at me 9 months ago, I had no idea what they were talking about.
      Which is odd, because technically, I’d been involved in it on some level or another for the better part of 10 years… and by virtue of being in on a number of Betas just because folks I knew would send me invites, I’d been on the ‘cutting edge’ of much of it without knowing that I was actually on the ‘edge’ of anything.

      BUT… it didn’t take terribly long to get caught up with the terminology… one of the advantages of new media is that if you want the information, it’s always just a short Google away.

      The thing is, every industry eventually develops jargon – it’s what enables folks in that industry to insulate themselves against someone coming in and saying “that? Anyone can do that…” and ousting them from their niche.

      Social Media terminology is just the same as legalese, corporate-speak, and tech-jargon – a way of creating a need for expertise before selling ones services.

      And yeah – that’s about as anti-social as it gets.

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