All over the Internet today, you’ll read intros filled with words you weren’t expecting to see kicking off a blog. Writers love a bit of word play and days like today provide that opportunity in spades. Oxford Dictionaries have released a list of its latest additions to the dictionary, new words that they now consider officially part of the English language.
To celebrate, you’ll see tweet after Facebook update after blog entry using these new words today, so we’re not going to do that. We’re going to talk about them instead. The additions have mostly come from Internet and social media language, showing just how much influence the online world has on modern life. They also point to future marketing trends in terms of how marketers will communicate in the future.
You’ll recognize the meaning of most of the additions straight away, because they have been influence by common online usage. Words like tweeps, lifecasting and lolz will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in the Internet. Our personal favorite is the addition of Mwahahaha. That’s right Mwahahaha is now a real word, with a dictionary meaning and pronunciation. It even has a spelling, three ‘ha’s, no more.
Future Marketing Trends are Influenced by Culture and Language
This is certainly amusing and will make for an interesting new look to the modern scrabble board. Incidentally, for scrabble fans, ‘vajazzle’ is now in the dictionary and is worth 36 points. But it’s more important than that, as marketers we need to be aware of the ways social media and online communities are influencing language.
Today, no doubt, there will be some people decrying these changes as the death of the English language. Some purists feel that the more we allow acronyms like OH(other half) or abbreviations like ridic (ridiculous) the more we ‘dumb down’ the language. This is not the place for a wider debate on the language, but as marketers we can’t afford to deny these changes. Whenever modern culture is influenced or altered, future marketing trends need to be altered to match.
Communication is central to everything we do in marketing and we have to communicate using the language of the market. Many marketers wince when they see the use of Internet language in tweets or on email marketing. They feel that we need to maintain an air of professionalism. That’s certainly true for a lot of situations but we need to be adaptable.
Marketers Need to Embrace Change
Social media marketing, in particular is about engaging with the market on their terms. We can’t ‘rise above’ certain language out of a misplaced sense of pride or professionalism. If your target market starts to think you’re speaking a different language, they’ll switch off. So we do have to embrace these changes.
It’s also important that we develop proper understanding of the development of language. Misuse of modern phrases can be more damaging than not using them at all. The last thing you want to do is to end up sounding like your parents sounded to you the first time they used the word ‘cool’. When we talk about communicating in the same language we don’t mean dropping phrases into sentences. You need to speak fluent Internet.
Whenever we talk about future marketing trends or try to predict how online interaction will change, there’s always a bit of guesswork involved. You never know for sure what will catch on and what will be forgotten about, dictionary changes like these act as a reminder that things are constantly changing. All we can do is use changes like this as guidelines to how we’ll interact in the future.
The key is to stay on top of Internet language, and continue to communicate with your market in their language. If you do that you’ll be one stop closer to marketing domination, mwahahaha.