asiCast 166: What’s in a name? Why media language matters

Evan Shapiro is one of the most reliable ‘must-read’ contributors to LinkedIn. When he recently published a piece called ‘What’s In, A Name?’ which highlighted the extent to which as an industry the media use language that simply confuses everyone, bells started ringing in asi’s offices. This was a subject close to our hearts and we asked Evan to discuss with our Research Director, Richard Marks, the problems he thinks arise from this loose use of language.

Consistent with his mission to persuade ‘media dinosaurs’ of the need to adapt to a new user-centric era, the media cartographer published an update to his original map of the Media Universe in an edition of his Media War and Peace Newsletter. This plotted where we currently are right now.

As he is invited to speak at many conferences, he is very familiar and frustrated with the number of acronyms and terms thrown around. These seem to consist of competing and ill-defined terminology, which simply leads to confusion. If people aren’t able to communicate adequately it’s difficult to see how they can come to any agreement and achieve any progress.

It needs to be acknowledged that arriving at definitions in this new world is not going to be easy because in Evan’s view the set of choices facing the industry needs to be acknowledged as non-binary once the control of the media eco-system has been ceded to the consumer. It may be possible to arrive at a consensus around the terms that are widely used and abused in the media industry when we start talking to each other rather than yelling at each other from entrenched positions.

A number of the issues raised will be discussed (without any yelling) at this year’s asi International Conferences on 8th-10th November in Nice, France.

We published a series of podcasts on ‘problem terms’ some years ago which you can revisit in The death of ‘digital’, What is ‘Television’ , What do we mean by cross-platform reach, engagement and targeting , and What is mobile

Evan Shapiro talks with Richard Marks:

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