Home Business 2.0 Web-ster IMHO, this blog on what the kids are talking about is NSFW*
IMHO, this blog on what the kids are talking about is NSFW* PDF Print E-mail
Web-ster
Written by Mike Cottrill   
Monday, 07 June 2010 17:55

  The Internet, with its infinite tubes and ties to the newly-single Al Gore, is a dark and seedy place. The pure volume of time sucks that can be found with any Google search would be impressive if it weren't so pervasive for business owners and leaders.

Not long ago I tackled why you should free up your employees' access to social media and what a few hours on the Web can do for creativity (BTW, as the kids say, here's another great piece about how the Web engages and motivates), but I realize that when I'm out talking about the online world I am often speaking a different language. For traditional businesses just dipping their toes in the icy Internet water, telling them that using a more organic approach to SEO would be more beneficial than blindly throwing money into Google AdWords is like explaining the "Lost" series to someone who had seen only commercials for the show. 

 

But facts are facts and the world has changed. Along the way, the language of life and business are changing, too. Because I’m only here to help, I want to walk through some common things the kids are talking about and the worthwhile trends attached.

 

pwnage. You may hear the kids talking about how they have pwned one another, a form of the word pwn. This is one of the older words in the Web 2.0 lexicon (old enough that I used it in college, back when our cell phones couldn't access our e-mail. Oh, the 1800s...) and it can come attached with words like w00t! (hooray!), n00b (a new person), and uber (extreme or maximum). It became popular with online gamers who likely meant to say own. Why does this matter to your business? Online gaming is here to stay and it is an adaptable model. Every current video game system hooks up so people can play online and the game revolution on Facebook has become ridiculously profitable. This is creating a world where it is completely OK for adults to be gamers, changing the way we look at discretionary spending. Consumer facing businesses need to hear this: I don't go to the movies anymore because I can download my Netflix to my laptop and I can download video games to my Wii. When I was 14 playing video games on a Friday night was something I did because I was fat. Today, I do it with a group of friends instead of going out.

 

The viral video. The kids may talk about the latest video they filmed on their Flip going viral in a way that’s bigger than the original Rick Roll (when someone sends you a link to something official sounding but, in reality, it's just a Rick Astley video. If you think that sounds silly, you haven't tried it. Do so.), but so what. The phrase viral has been around long enough for you to understand that it is something online that just explodes because of the Internet’s preference for sharing. What’s interesting about the Internet, though, is a viral video doesn’t have to be something you want to have shared. Understand that YouTube is the new way of telling stories, and those stories can blow up in no time. I've used this example before, but managing your online brand has become huge, just ask United. They fly all over the world every day, but breaking one guitar created a viral video that more than eight million people have seen. The viral video can easily be a virus to your business; keep an eye on that zany YouTube.

 

The meme. One minute Kanye West ruins Taylor Swift’s award speech. By the next, Internet nerds have taken that image and added it to videos of President Obama being interrupted during a campaign speech, a picture of the original framers of the constitution and just about any moment they could envision him ruining. Meme-rs take a hot story or trend on the Internet and act to make it something funny, ridiculous or just an additional fan to the flame. Within hours of Kanye’s interuption, a comment I made about it on Twitter received a response by a marketer selling T-shirts about the gaffe. I didn’t buy one, but I watched the site and later saw they sold out of a few sizes.

 

I previously explained that online meme creator Icanhascheezeburger.com does approximately $4 million a year in revenue just by creating memes about animals talking and reasons why things have failed. The trend that is most interesting about the meme, though, is it’s short lifespan. Internet trends change faster than fashion, meaning that people get in, get excited and get off in about a Twitter lifetime (that is, about 15 minutes). Of course, for every one that fades someone has a new one ready to go. The lesson for businesses? Figure out how to turn your ship quickly. You may not be putting silly memes online, but the world of the blog and user content has made it much easier to see what people are interested in at any given moment. The question is, is your organization set up to give it to them when they’re ready to buy?

 

That's all.

 

Next time: Keep your handheld on until the absolute last moment: The air industry is using your mobile device to keep in touch.

 

Last time: Just because you aren't getting business from your site doesn't mean it's useless.

 

Mike Cottrill is the manager for online operations at Smart Business. His blog posts are infrequent and based on objections and questions he hears in the business community about the online world. You can follow him @mrcottrill, connect with him on LinkedIn or mail him a letter, if that's your preferred method of communication.

*IMHO: In my humble opinion (or, if you’re old school, in my honest opinion)

*NSFW: Not safe for work

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 00:22
 

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