The other day I participated in a webinar that was advertised to “educate” on Social Media trends and topics. We were about a quarter of the way through the presentation and the speaker asked if there were any questions. A woman asked “What are you referring to as “WB” on slide 13?” There was a pause from the speaker as he went back and referenced that particular slide. He said, oh that is supposed to “FB”. To which the woman replied “And that stands for…?” And he said “Facebook”. And we carried on, never really looking back, but something had changed. There was an air surrounding the presentation that made me feel like I had been had. I mean really is it so hard to type out Facebook and avoid that scenario altogether?
I see acronyms these days replacing EVERYTHING. As Director of Marketing, I spend many days on Google trying to find the “proper” meaning for acronyms that are used throughout presentations and publications that I receive. I recognize the need for acronyms, especially in this day and age when everything is text and twittered, but I wonder if it offers an element of confusion that may be avoided if we were to take the time to type the entire word. I am not denouncing the use of acronyms as a whole, but think it is worthwhile to clearly communicate to your audience.
As we move deeper into an era of fast and furious information pushing, it is imperative that we focus on “what” we are communicating. Don’t be afraid to ask if you do not know. And if you feel silly asking or looking up an acronym, don’t- case and point, my name is Meredith Darbyshire, 18 letters – half the English alphabet, but I do not go out there and abbreviate my name to everyone as MD for many reasons, but mostly because people might misconstrue my profession – I am not a doctor, but I am an MD (see my point?).