Speaking in Native Tongue...Cellular Lingo For the Rest of Us!

Want to educate cell phone consumers about the wireless industry? Then learn a new language…Theirs!

‘O wretched countrymen! What fury reigns? What more than madness has possess'd your brains? Like the poor unsuspecting Trojans as the Greek’s executed a surprise attack from the ‘Trojan Horse’, I sometimes feel in a stupor after reading just the first few paragraphs of an article from one of my respective industry publications that is trying to provide help for cell phone customers.

Even after more than a dozen years in the wireless industry, it takes me a few minutes of reading the article to get my brain in gear and start translating acronyms and trying to connect thoughts, multi generations of cell phones, wireless services, incompatible cell phone provider networks….sigh, breathe deep…. emerging wireless technologies, concepts and realities. Scary enough most of these articles appear to be targeted towards the average cell phone consumer. I often wonder how complicated it must be for the cell phone end user to read through this techno babble and figure out how it applies to them and what they are trying to accomplish. It certainly gives new meaning to the term ‘creative interpretation.’

Too often we wireless and cell phone industry professionals spend too much time in ‘work mode’ and do not learn how to ‘disconnect’ ourselves. As a result every time we are in social and personal non- work related environments we start transitioning into tech talk. Initially we are using a few acronyms and referencing a few wireless products by name, then the next thing you know we’re moving at full blown speeds, talking cell phone carriers, the latest wireless gadgets and spectrum bidding. Our interpretation of describing an acronym is usually saying what it ‘spells out’ or describing the wireless product or service by using more technical terms like The Motorola Q is the name of the Blackberry like, Palm like, Pocket PC like, Razr phone like handheld with Bluetooth, a mini SD Card drive and 1.3 megapixel camera sold on the Verizon network. Yeah well, tell me something I don’t know and can’t easily find on a search engine, like how to set up and use the darn thing?

This wireless non sense tech babble infiltrates our mind, our personalities and ultimately our existence and then the next thing you know it is set up in our mental default language. The big problem is when we are speaking or educating others we have to remember that the wireless and cellular industry has not been nice to them as far as providing industry specific information in a sensible format. Log on to every major news and media publication and you will find wireless hiding somewhere under technology or maybe IT or maybe mobile computing. Surprisingly not even the wireless providers or vendors have worked to get wireless into its own ‘category’. Essentially, we are still an orphan in the public eye. I can understand from the days of the digital pager where we didn’t have much going on beyond a few major wireless vendors and a pretty similar product but over 8 years, wireless has emerged as its own beast and unfortunately we have little real documented history on the emergence on the wireless industry, aside from industry trend reports and articles written as subtle advertisements. So the consumer does not know where to begin when they are searching for wireless and how it works overall.

There are so many elements and niches upon niches of wireless that it is hard to know where it began or where it is going. Then there is the hype and talk about the convergence of developing and emerging future technologies which still have to be tested and approved before they are actually integrated into our current technologies. Yet, these technologies are promoted and advertised ‘as the next best thing’ leaving consumers confused and believing that they are behind the curve. So they go to their local retail store to learn that nobody has a darn clue what on Earth they are talking about, making the whole situation even more confusing and frustrating than it already was. So in order for the wireless industry to evolve and improve its communication and the way it disseminates information to the average consumer we need to consider the following:

1. Realize there are generally two types of wireless consumers: Technical and non-technical. We need to be able to provide the same information to both groups in their ‘respective language’.

2. Go beyond wireless: Write in terms that people can connect with, even if you have to go outside of the wireless industry to make an analogy.

3. Think of the way it was, the way it is and the way it is going. With so many generations of wireless technologies and so many idiosyncrasies specific to the industry, consumers need to have some reference for a starting point. If they cannot understand the way it was, then they cannot see how a specific wireless technology has improved or advanced or even its relevancy.

4. Solve a problem first. Address a common consumer problem or misnomer. Try writing or drawing pictures or coming up with practical everyday analogies to address the problem without using wireless tech babble.

5. If 1 through 4 doesn’t work, try writing for your audience and not yourself.

©2006-2009, Group Interactive, Inc. Want to use this article on your blog or in your ezine? You can, as long as you include this unaltered blurb: Shonika Proctor is the New ‘IT’ Girl and a 14 wireless year veteran. Her company provides tips, tools and products that help overwhelmed cellular users and administrators to overcome their most challenging wireless frustrations, www.cell-phone-account-help.com

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