Is there a Benefit to Creating a Unique Terminology for your Community?

Is there an advantage to creating a unique terminology for your business or sphere?

If you were in a bar talking sports and your interlocutor called themselves a “clone,” would you know what they meant? What if they referred to a particular NFL quarterback as “Marmalard” or an NBA player as having a “spirit animal?”

If you didn’t know what they were talking about, how put out would you feel? If you did, how connected?

Creating a cosmology filled with specific characters and states of being carries with it the advantage of making engaged readers more connected with a community, while also raising the barrier to entry for new readers.

If your content is worth really engaging with, why not give your community the terms with which to define themselves as part of an enthusiastic group?

Is there a Benefit to Creating a Unique Terminology for your Community?

Canoeing Tips: So You’re in a Canoe that’s Flipping Over. Now What?

Capsizing a canoe while on a whitewater trip is a perfectly natural and common occurrence. In fact, many canoeists count capsizing as among the most memorable and ultimately fun experiences on a particular trip.* For the novice paddler though, flipping a fully loaded 2 person canoe over can be frightening. Fortunately, with just a couple of simple steps, dumping can be both safe and educational.

Most capsizing happens in relatively calm water, when the division of labor between the paddler in the bow and the one in the stern can be unclear, and when the mind is more prone to wander. The thought process in the moments leading up to a flip usually goes something like this:

“Wow, the way the sunlight is dappling through those trees is breathtaking. My goodness, the natural beauty of these surroundings just puts me right at ease. Hey, what kind of bird is– [completely unprintable string of expletives].”

There’s a pregnant half-second between when you gain the certainty that your boat is going to flip and when your face actually hits the water. In that sliver of time you, the paddler, have to do three things.

1. Assess your own safety – Take a last look at the river ahead. Figure out which bank to head to, if there are any dangerous rocks looming, and if there’s a craft directly behind you.

2. (if your safety is relatively assured) Secure your paddle – An upside down canoe is pretty easy to find and, if you haven’t completely failed in your knot tying, your gear should be still be in the boat and undamaged. A single paddle, however, can disappear into a river with alarming ease.  Recovering your boat but running out of paddles has the effect of turning the river into the world’s largest and least safe log flume ride.

3. Assign blame – Perhaps most important of all. Even you fail at steps 1 and 2, you’re still likely to survive, but if you don’t get ahead of the crisis-management by the time of the evening’s campfire, you’ll wish you hadn’t. While you and your boatmate may be a well-oiled machine on the water, after a capsize, all bets are off.

If you are in the stern (back), start thinking of things to say to the group like, “Gosh that rock came on us out of nowhere. Ed didn’t have a chance. I really blame myself. If only I’d been in the front of the boat…” or

“I mean, I know it’s the person in the front’s responsibility to watch out for submerged branches like that, but that one was really tricky…”

Next time: Partner communication!

  • Only people who have flipped think this. But, people who make it through a whole whitewater trip without capsizing even once are also the kind of people who are always going on about the “undertones of nutmeg” in the camp’s coffee, never shut up about the merits of a Denis Kucinich/Ron Paul candidacy, have an ineffable insufferability, and are not to be trusted.
Canoeing Tips: So You’re in a Canoe that’s Flipping Over. Now What?

7 Secrets of Web 2.0

1. Every time you click the “thumbs up” icon on someone’s Facebook post, Roger Ebert is paid 3.5 cents.

2. The creators of Twitter are obsessive James Ellroy fans, and started the service out of a desire to see more people write with the same brevity and idiosyncratic approach to grammar as their idol.

3. 43 percent of all blog posts about marketing are made of pieces from surplus Seth Godin posts.

4. 16 percent of all photos on flickr are self-portraits. 67 percent of those are ill-advised.

5. Even in face-to-face conversation, Guy Kawasaki never utters more than 140 characters before waiting for a reply. If the person he’s talking to does not quickly respond, Mr. Kawasaki switches topics, leading to some awkward cocktail party moments.

6. The term “Web 2.0” was started as a code O’Reilly Media employees could use when, during meetings with clients, they really needed to use the bathroom.

7. You do not want to know the origin of the term “The Long Tail.” (Shudder.)

7 Secrets of Web 2.0

3 thoughts about politics

(or “While I’d Probably Have a Different Opinion if I Made More Money…”)

(or “Men in Black References Are Too Still Relevant!”)

1. Does the anger over the AIG bailouts represent the cresting of a more significant popular anger over what’s been a 30 year trend of American capitalism valuing moving money around far more than actually making things? It’s not just that the AIG mess can serve as a shorthand for rewarding people who failed so badly at their jobs that they hurt the rest of us along with them, but that a closer look reveals a system in which even if they had succeeded at their jobs, they still wouldn’t have “deserved” that money.

2. Watching Norm Coleman in Minnesota pivot pretty directly from arguing right after the Senate election that a recount would cost the state too much money (up to $120,000) to arguing that a new state-wide election is the only way to serve the public interest (at a cost of millions) has me wondering, as so many things do, if, as part the process of joining the Republican Party, one is hit with a Men in Black-style gadget that erases the bit of the brain in charge of cognitive dissonance. It would explain so much.

3. Eric Cantor (R-VA) is every student council president ever.

3 thoughts about politics