Kipp h8s emoticons
An innocent little press release has got Kipp all angry. Why have we got so upset about ‘digital body language’? We don’t even know.
February 24, 2011 1:58 by shafeer
Operating in the Middle Eastern media scene, Kipp is the recipient of more than a few rubbish press releases. Some are badly written, many poorly targeted, and often are the result of a truly terrible PR idea. We generally receive them with a good dose of patience and good humour, assuming we haven’t had too bad a day. Because if we’ve had a bad day, we can easily get a bit short-tempered.
The Kipp tether is in sight today, but for once it’s not down to a local release. The press release that has provoked us for no (immediately apparent) reason today came from the UK. The issuer couldn’t have known it would rile us up like this, they just happened to stumble on a pet peeve of Kipp’s.
Apparently, Britons are – brace yourself for this – “ill at ease in the digital world as they struggle to convey body language and tone when using email, text, Facebook, Twitter and Skype.”
To which Kipp is forced to ask, who gives a flying… or something slightly more restrained. We are unimpressed by the long list of companies telling us how technology has changed the way we communicate and how it’s made life oh-so-tricky for us all. It hasn’t, it has made life an awful lot easier and pretty much no one is “ill at ease.”
Anyway first up, what do they mean when they gibber on in the release about ‘digital body language’? Well, digital kisses and hugs (XOXO), smiley / sad faces and acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud), apparently. It won’t surprise you to hear that Kipp uses none of these.
The release says that one in four Brits admit that a misunderstanding has led to fall outs, insomnia, and lost business. Kipp really hopes that’s not the case, as that would make one in four British people a total moron.
“A frown, a smile, an arched brow or a raised voice. These are just some of the basic signals used during face to face conversations. But what happens when we take them away?” says Diana Soltmann, CEO of somewhere called Flagship Consulting and press release talking head number one. “Human emotion is a fundamental part of communication. The advent of digital media means we had to find a digital substitute. We believe it is not only here to stay but will develop and become more sophisticated as this medium evolves.”
And Lewis Shields, head of digital and social media at Flagship and talking head number two, says: “Social media has changed not only how we communicate but the language we use. Our research suggests that professionals need to think about how they construct their digital messages bearing in mind who their audiences are. Companies should be aware that younger audiences and women are more open to digital ‘short hand’ but that this might ‘turn off’ or cause misunderstanding among an older, or male audience.”
Meanwhile Kipp Report, Middle East business website, said: “Who cares about digital body language? Who on earth would get upset about it? Do you really believe that or are you just saying it for your press release? And was life always this relentlessly tedious or did modern technology just make it this way?”
Kipp needs more sleep.