We need to stop it.
“We’re waiting on specs for the San Francisco installation. Can you parallel-path two versions?”
Good grief … I think Molly Young is channelling me.
… at the very bottom, customer service. Which, by the way, has been rechristened “customer support” or “customer experience” at most companies — as though the word service might remind the college graduates recruited for these roles that they will in fact spend their days pacifying irritable consumers over phone, chat, text, and email.
As you know – Language is one of the People First pillars.
I have no reason to write more on this article – it only becomes a block to you reading it yourself.
As I was publishing this post from John Maloney, I thought I would look up the word gig … it makes for an interesting read.
Counting both noun and verb forms, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists and defines thirteen separate ‘gigs’.
‘A flighty, giddy girl’ was where it all started and then ‘spin’, ‘whirl’, ‘whirligig’, ‘fool’, giggle and ‘joke’ are all in one way or associated with the word. Even when you get up to the 18th century where it meant ‘light one-horse carriage’, its origin might be ..
perhaps based on the ‘bouncing, whirling’ sense of the earlier ‘gig’.
Did John Lyndon Hate The Floyd?
Is Pink Floyd a punk band?
Are people really surprised when Roger Waters delivers protest?
Why is the film not Called ‘Us and Them’?
All this and more in this week’s newsletter.Read More
I have had versions of this article on a number of different blogs and publications for years. The time has come to formalize it, since content, its ownership and how we think about it, is central to the principles of People First.
“Why is it so difficult to find a freelance writing gig?A recent question from someone in one of my many groups …
My reply …
Because the people who pay for writing have no clue of the value, which is why they call it ‘content’ which we know has no value and is homogenous ‘filler’ that can be swapped out at a moments notice.
My Content Rule …
Don’t Call It Content
…. book, novel, short story, article, white paper, promotional piece, advert, painting, sculpture, song, opera, photograph, image, graphic art, poster, fine art … anything … anything but ‘content’.
If you want a general catchall phrase, how about material? It’s the words that creative used to use – it meant something. Stood for something. It had value.
Because as long as ‘we the creators’ fall into the trap of using low cost, homogenous, non-descript words like ‘content’ to describe our work, our soul, our passion, our beliefs then our work will continue to be viewed as ’free – to – cheap – to – low – cost’, as ‘homogenized, non differentiated, interchangeable fodder’. Moreover, we then only have ourselves to blame and the resultant payment for your art, your thinking, your ideas, will continue to race to the bottom.
It is not in the interests of any creator to allow that, so why allow their interests to define how we think?
Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ‘content’ has no value. It is also important to know that it is in the best interests of the buyers of our sweat, labour, thought and time to keep their price down. But our costs are not kept down. So our net earnings suffer. And they are suffering badly.
And it has to start with you – the creator, because it isn’t in the interests of buyers to change their behaviour and vocabulary – ‘they’ want great work at no cost.
From a while back now – but well worth repeating ….
It’s the amateurs who make it tough for the professionalsHarlan Ellison
I wonder if that is how this kind of thinking comes about? As I wrote when I first saw this …
For all those of us attempting to get paid for value by people who wouldn’t get value if it smacked them between the eyes.John Philpin
Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ’content’ has no value.
“I draw and paint on paper using pen, ink, and watercolor. I then scan and publish my work on this web site. People then visit and read this graphic novel, or if you prefer, webcomic. Occasionally, I write a blog post like this one. There is art and there is commentary, but there is no content and there are certainly no consumers.”Don Macdonald – August 24th, 2011
All Creators Should
STOP using THEIR words
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.
A N D
START using OUR words
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.
Are you getting The People First Newsletter?
… a building block of Language, one of the Tenets of People First. We are developing and sharing a new vocabulary that continues to evolve in the course of
We use this vocabulary to shift the topics and change the conversation about how we put People First in the work we do and the way we live.
|The Future of Work||The Present Of Work|
|Work Life Balance||Pay Purpose Play|
|Gig Economy||Portfolio Lifestyle|
|Customer Experience||Employee Experience|
|Talent Acquisition||Working with People|
|Tightly Managed||Loosely Coupled|
|Winner Takes All||Winner Contributes|
|Continual Change||Continuous Change|
Those same organizations that use phrases like; ‘Share of Wallet’, ‘Attacking and Targeting a Market’ (that’s you and me folks) and breaking down those ‘Adoption B
Which language do you believe reflects the true nature of the corporation?
Me? I think what is said behind closed doors more often reflects the truth. What is broadcast in public is what they think we want to hear. It’s politics, not business, but isn’t that what happened to Mitt Romney?
This weeks newsletter explores corporate language and asks why have people just blindly adopted it without question? It doesn’t serve us – only the coorporation.