Heya dude. U r so coooool. I gonna check u out rite now. Whoops…..sorry….I somehow seemed to slip into another personality for a while. But that’s the problem with many people on social networks and many websites; the owners try to pretend to be modern, hip, cool, by using the “language of the moment” in order to impress. It doesn’t.
Using modern parlance to try and connect actually does the reverse for many people running an online business. The reason is that lots of online business owners are middle-aged. But some of their readers are much younger. To try and appeal to these individuals, the business owners mistakenly think they have to communicate in the lingo of a streetwise teenager.
When you were at school, you used words that your parents did not use; indeed you invented new words. Back in the 1960s, good things we liked were “fab” and “groovy”, nowadays the same things are “cool”. For people back in the 1940s, they were “jolly good”.
As you grow up, you begin to realise that unless you mark yourself out as different to your parents you are merely an extension of them. One of the things that we do as we enter the teenage years is to invent new words that are “ours” not “theirs”; it helps us establish our own individual identity and is actually an important part of growing up.
In the past we shared our new language and new ways of expressing ourselves using letters to penfriends, for instance. Nowadays, children do the same thing using social networking sites or text messages. But the important thing is that the language they use is “theirs” not “ours”. It’s what helps mark them out as different and is an important part of self expression and self identity.
When we start to use “their” language they see us as imposters – and they try even harder to invent new terms and new ways of writing to exclude us and help establish a sense of “self”. Also, when we start to use the newer linguistics, we show ourselves to be trying too hard to be “one of them” – and that increases the distance between us.
If you truly want to engage with a younger audience on your social networks or on your business web site, it’s easy. be yourself. You will gain more respect from all ages – plus you will find it much easier to use “your” language, rather than “theirs”. And don’t forget – even though your younger readers will use a style of communicating between themselves that’s all their own, they can still read and understand what you write…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+