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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

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Old terminology, new terminology: "People connecting with other people"


Time management tipsBrian Solis & Deirdre Breakenridge in their book Putting the Public Back in Public Relations talk about the new terminology in the social media era. Old terminology, before Web 2.0 and social media, refers to messages that get broadcast to users. New terminology refers to conversations that are shared with people. Brian and Deirdre also refer to what Josh Bernoff from Forrester wrote about his frustration with the term "users". Web users are no longer "users" he says. Knowing that we are at 80% of Net penetration in the US for instance, these "users" are now "people" looking for information. In the social media era, "users" are "people connecting with other people".

The most important part is not the terminology but the thinking that goes with the terminology. Thinking in terms of people and conversation changes everything. It creates a two-way street that allows all of us to change and learn in the process.

I believe that in training (or "learning" in the new terminology) and productivity ("accomplishment" in the new terminology) a similar terminology and mind shift are happening. Here is a start for comparing old and new terminology:

Traditional ways to refer to things  The new terminology and mindset 
 Users, attendees, trainees   People, participants, learners
 Messages, course material, presentations   Conversations, topics, interactions
 Time management, getting organized, being productive   Working well, optimizing, accomplishing

You additions and comments are welcome!


Well said Pierre!
Posted @ Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11:20 AM by Brian Solis
Seems like terminology follows mindset instead of leading it - interesting. Out for me also is "audience" ...so old fashioned oneway communication.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 10, 2010 1:14 PM by Julie Sears
I was thinking the opposite of Julie's comment - in some cases, terminology anticipates mindset. We've been talking about replacing "training" with "learning" as a way to talk about mastering workplace skills for a decade, but until technology let us replace broadcast learning models with interactive ones, it was a linguistic change with no real meaning. I find more people now are ready to think of "training" as a really outdated, passive approach to what should be a vibrant, self-directed activity. Hooray!
Posted @ Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:18 PM by Ceil Tilney
Nice question. For me, it depends on the audience and how much I want to devote in the conversation towards education over listening. Older terms work great for interaction, but aren't always contextually relevant. Have to be mindful of audience and then walk from there. Blanket terminology only works for so long in some areas IMO.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:29 AM by Antoine RJ Wright
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