As my thumbs typed this urgent text message into my smartphone (PLS CK ASAP) to our creative department, I reveled in the moment as I realized that I was hip with the cool Millennial lingo. Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post (it's a short one):
Adopt vs. Adapt - Seth Godin June 21
An early adopter seeks out new ideas and makes them work.
An adapter, on the other hand, puts up with what he has to, begrudgingly.
One is offense, the other is defense. One requires the spark of curiosity, the other is associated with fear, or at least hassle.
Hint: it's not so easy to sell to the adapt community.
After considering this post, I held my head high as I personally acknowledged my status. I am and always will be an 'adopter.' Then I realized that I have received text messages from my kids that have made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Mobile phones were designed for verbal communication but for the Millennial, mobile phones became a text based social device whereby entire conversations could be perpetrated without spelling out an entire word. While I was acting like an adult and taking care of business, our youth was inventing an entire language. It's sort of like a subset of colloquial and is riddled with clichés and catchy phrases. Here is a webpage I found that has definitionss. Caution: many definitions here are a bit "salty."
Now this lingo is part of business. Am I a situational adapter? Or are there degrees of adoption? I do know the basics (LOL, OMG, etc.) and frankly our interoffice communications are saturated with this clever shorthand. Heck, we even have a job title that I created last year and the initials were a key consideration as I put it all together. It's much more fun to refer to our elite group of Brand Account Managers as "BAMs" than it is to force my mouth to labor over the full title. We refer to clients by their initials and our enterprise clients refer to us as 'GP' or 'GPS.' This lingo did not come from our management team; it came from our Millennials.
Some lament and abhor the breakdown of language in emails, instant and text messages. I do agree that outbound correspondence with clients should be reviewed and checked for grammar, spelling and word usage. But as more time passes I suspect that this new language will gain a foothold. Who am I kidding? It already has! These anachronisms or initializations (to be technically correct) are tremendous time savers. As more tech savvy Millennials enter the workforce we have to decide whether or not we (by 'we' I mean Gen X-ers and Baby-Boomers) will adopt or adapt to this language that is second nature to them.
Jon Sooy is VP of Sales and Marketing at Golden Pacific Systems. Dedicated to driving savings with next generation supply chain management solutions, Golden Pacific is revolutionizing the way multi-unit concepts do business.