Two Dot Oh No

Thought I’d share with you the recipe for geniusosity (the act of being perceived as a thought leader in your field):

  1. State the field (function, area, etc.) in which you work.
  2. Proclaim that things in your field are changing. If possible, use phrases like “fundamental changes” and “changes that go to the core.”
  3. Herald the emergence of [Insert-your-field-here] 2.0.

It’s really getting to be too much. Pretty soon we’ll be reading about Receptionist 2.0, where office receptionists will be creating social networks to engage the people sitting around in their waiting rooms.

The thing that surprises me about the whole 2.0 naming convention is that in flies in the face of the principles laid out in Made To Stick about what makes ideas grab hold.

The 2.0 naming convention stems from the IT world, where technology people slap on an incremental number to name the next generation of their creations (sometimes called applications).

But adopting technology-driven naming conventions could have negative ramifications.

Remember back in the late 90s when we had to deal with the Y2K crisis? (I realize that for some of you, the answer is no, you were just pimply-faced teens back then. Bear with me, then).

What happened was that IT people, in an attempt to save storage space, and simplify programming efforts, routinely left off the first two digits of the year when dealing with date fields in programs. Of course, when the turn of the century rolled around, programs had to be recoded to avoid serious miscalculations.

But that’s not the problem I’m alluding to. The problem was in the naming convention. Did they call it the “Year 2000” crisis (9 characters with the space)? Oh no. They had to cut it down to the “Y2K” crisis, which, of course, was the same kind of thinking that led to the problem in the first place.

Bottom line: We can’t let the technophiles dictate our naming conventions.

So when describing the next generation of your field, please come up with some decriptive name for the changes you envision, and that help us understand what those changes are. Simply slapping a 2.0 label on it isn’t helpful. And, who knows, it could cause a crisis down the road.

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