Social vs. "Street Social" (Careful With the Latter)

by Shockley Au December 22nd, 2010 

Being in the world of Social Media is inherently quite enjoyable. In social media, we enjoy the sharing of content and experiences with others, developing friendships, and establishing camaraderie between "like-minds". And all these technologically-enhanced social conversations are wonderful.

But (Yes, there's always a caveat.), you should find that sweet spot in the social spectrum, between P.R. Department Spokesperson and D.J. Words-From-The-Street.

The voice behind the business can be humourous, and the tone can be light, but you can achieve this social voice and tone mix without being "street social".

As a business entity, you should avoid sounding like a lolcat.

Wikipedia Lolcat

Being Street Social

While navigating the social realm, by all means be friendly! Communicate and converse in a way that makes your brand open and approachable. Your voice can be informal and conversational (as it is here), yet still conform to standard spelling and grammar rules.

Beware of:

  • street slang (chill, bounce, ...)
  • words not found in the dictionary (ur, yea, ...)
  • incorrect spelling, grammar, or capitalization

Note that abbreviated and shortened words may be acceptable in some situations, especially within 140-character-limit settings. Using words like "ASAP", "RT", and even "X-mas" are understandable. However, use your best judgement for words like "plz" and "thx", and make sure they aren't riddled throughout your message.

A good way to approach being "social" and avoid being "street social", is to imagine that you are emailing your grandmother - not texting your BFF.

Will Grandma know it's you emailing her, but still understand what you're trying to say?

Shockley Au

Shockley is an experienced digital marketing consultant, helping businesses succeed online through SEM/PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Analytics. He is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads, and also blogs at State of Digital. Follow him on Twitter @ShockleyAu.

Shockley Au

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6 Responses to “Social vs. "Street Social" (Careful With the Latter)”

  1. Brad Gosse says:

    I love this post because it's got me thinking about how I conduct myself on twitter and Facebook. I guess it depends on the type of business you are in. Because my business is about attracting like-minded people. So if I tweet fart jokes, and make people upset that's okay. Because my followers who are similar to me are cheering.
    .-= Brad Gosse recently posted: Do we still need phone books in 2011 =-.

  2. Shockley Au says:

    @Brad: Yes, the language you use would depend on the type of business. Speak to your audience, whoever it might be! Just remember you can still "speak" to them without going all-street… usually. :)

  3. Kristy says:

    I think this is a great point. I cringe whenever I see a company being too "street social" as you put it. There's a time and a place for that, but it's most certainly not on a company account. (Of course there are always exceptions to every rule….) I would say though that it is very important for a company's social team to be aware of the jargon specific to each platform. For example…using RT or H/T on Facebook would look painfully awkward…but on Twitter it largely makes sense to everyone. Using the native jargon is imperative to looking like you "get it" but going over board can make you look ridiculous.
    .-= Kristy recently posted: From The House To The Hill- My New Gig =-.

  4. Shockley Au says:

    @Kristy: I agree. It's like high school – you don't want to try too hard. Thanks for the comment and happy holidays!

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