Wednesday Buzz: Clarity in a World of Acronyms

When talking about your association to the outside world, don't forget to ditch the jargon. Also: what you can learn from an app that turns pizza delivery into a one-button affair.

Considering the line of work you’re in, you deal with a lot of acronyms. And especially if you work in communications, it’s important to handle them the right way.

In The New York Times, University of California-Berkeley journalism professor David Tuller makes the case for clarity—especially as your audience changes—when it comes to the use of acronyms.

In teaching students how to write for a broad audience, he makes sure that two things are quick to go: the use of footnotes and the use of jargon-laden acronyms on first reference.

“Besides their inherent clunkiness, many acronyms have multiple meanings that can confuse readers with different backgrounds,” he notes, citing the example of MSM, which often refers to “mainstream media” in journalistic circles but can mean 91 other things, according to Tuller.

His point is a good reminder—especially considering that association language can get jargon-y. Don’t be afraid to simplify.

Grab a Slice

We want stuff easier, faster, and better. So it only makes sense that a pizza company is trying to sell pies in the easiest, quickest way possible.

On Tuesday, a promo ad (shown above) went viral, showing off a new iOS app called “Push for Pizza,” which has streamlined the process of getting a pizza to a single tap.

“Rising like a marinara phoenix from the ashes of every laundry and flower delivery startup that has tried to commoditize laziness, Push for Pizza will transform how you seek out simple sustenance embroiled in the late-night haze of poor decision making,” CNET writer Nick Statt joked Tuesday.

Obviously, there’s a bit to mock here, but there are also valid technology points being raised. Pizza has long been a cultural barometer of the rise of technology and simplicity. Pizza Hut made waves back in 1994 for a website called PizzaNet, which allowed people to buy pizza online. (A replica of the site is still on the web.)

We’ve gone a long way from ordering pizza online since then, and who knows? This approach might inspire bigger and bolder ideas.

Other good reads

If you like cupcakes, this fundraising idea from Connecticut Association of Realtors CEO Cindy Butts might whet your appetite.

You have an online community. You also have a marketing strategy. Smooth the Path’s Amanda Kaiser suggests on the Socious blog that they can work in tandem.

Event Manager Blog thinks Google Docs is an event planner’s best friend.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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