The Royal “We”

No, not as in the “Wii”, but as in the pernicious habit of corporate bloggers to address their audiences with the self-referential pronoun: “We”

As in: “Here at Yoyodyne we are committed to annoying our customers by speaking in sweeping terms and referring to ourselves with plural pronounds which fail to identify who the single individual is where the buck stops and responsibility begins.”

Corporate bloggers need to avoid the “Royal We”: Aka pluris majestatis. Sincerity is about using “I” and “me” backed up with a cell phone number and a working email address. As in: “I am personally sorry you got hosed this Christmas season and won’t be getting a Wii for junior. If you want to scream at me, call this number any time, day or night.”

“We” is insincere. Since when can several people type simultaneously? Any attempt by an individual to speak for multiple people is dissembling.

I am guilty of using the Royal We on our corporate blogs and henceforth will root it out.

SECOND LIFE: A story too good to check – Valleywag

SECOND LIFE: A story too good to check – Valleywag

Clay Shirky delivers his take on SecondLife and puts virtual world mania into the proper historical context. I remain happy not to have committed time and money to a SecondLife project.

“Second Life may be wrought by its more active users into something good, but right now the deck is stacked against it, because the perceptions of great user growth and great value from scarcity are mutually reinforcing but built on sand. Were the press to shift to reporting Recently Logged In as their best approximation of the population, the number of reported users would shrink by an order of magnitude; were they to adopt industry-standard unique users reporting (assuming they could get those numbers), the reported population would probably drop by two orders. If the growth isn’t as currently advertised (and it isn’t), then the value from scarcity is overstated, and if the value of scarcity is overstated, at least one of the engines of growth will cool down.”

FTC Moves to Unmask Word-of-Mouth Marketing

FTC Moves to Unmask Word-of-Mouth Marketing – washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post has hijacked the definition of “word of mouth marketing” right in the lead:

“The Federal Trade Commission yesterday said that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, [ital. ed.] must disclose those relationships.

This is a blanket definition that takes the Pay-Per-Post, Pay-to-Digg world of sleazily paying for mentions and use it cover the organic reality of customers telling other customers about their likes and dislikes. A marketer can influence that natural effect without engaging in pay-to-play. That influence, in my opinion, is the core of online brand management, and has to be earned, not purchased.

“In a staff opinion issued yesterday, the consumer protection agency weighed in for the first time on the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on such marketing, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.

“Word-of-mouth marketing can take any form of peer-to-peer communication, such as a post on a Web blog, a MySpace.com page for a movie character, or the comments of a stranger on a bus.”As the practice has taken hold over the past several years, however, some advocacy groups have questioned whether marketers are using such tactics to dupe consumers into believing they are getting unbiased information.

I’ll pledge right now to never pay for positive mentions.