The Power of Words - Make them count!
I guess I have always enjoyed words and I enjoy thinking of the impact of specific words that I use when speaking and writing. My mom and I were both spelling bee champs, although my wife has both of us beat, since she actually made it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC in the early 80's. Needless to say, our whole family likes words and reading.
Some words provide a jolt to the system, while others may lull you to sleep. Think of the most exciting or funny books that you have read or movies that you have seen. Now think of the dullest class that you took in high school or college. What differentiated them? The power of words, more than likely. A well-written script will often make you want to watch a movie many times, even memorizing certain lines and repeating them for years. A poorly presented lecture may turn you off of a subject forever.
This is great to think about when you are dealing with clients, or when you are developing ads. Certain words have the power to evoke instant images in the mind of the buyer, while other words will not stimulate any action at all. I have always thought that if space is limited, as in the MLS, it works better to think in terms of specifics (granite, wood, stainless) rather than generalities (open, light, large).
When you are composing marketing materials (and I consider my blog to be one giant marketing piece now), think of the power that your words can convey to the reader. I am not suggesting that you sit with a thesaurus or dictionary at hand when writing, but making something easy to read and interesting does take a bit more time. However, this investment of time will surely pay dividends, as buyers and sellers will be interested in learning more about you, or more about your listings. This is merely my opinion, but I have seen it in action. Copywriting and choosing the right headlines can really make a difference.
One example: I have often thought about the words "community" and "society" and how different their uses are. Generally speaking, a community sounds supportive (like Active Rain), while society seems to denote something that may have gone terribly wrong. Merriam-Webster's defines the word society as "a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests", while it defines community as "a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society". Note that they refer to society as a community, yet a community seems to exist within a society. Why is that?
Most times when I hear someone talking about a community, it is probably the place where they live or where they are considering living:
"This is a nice community."
"Jason, tell me about this community. Is it nice?"
If you try to substitute society in those statements, they both seem stilted and odd. In fact, this is typically how I hear people talking about society:
"Well, that's what our society has come to."
"We live in a litigious society now."
I think the use of this word has drastically changed over time, as I think "polite society" was in common parlance not that many years back, as was "high society". By the way, it's hard to imagine anyone ever saying "litigious community" because fellow members of a community don't sue each other, right? Well, I know that they do, but no one ever says that.
I think that in an effort to connect with smaller groups because of the vast number of options presented for entertainment and leisure time, community has become the best way to denote this. In fact, I use "community" all the time to describe neighborhoods. Neighborhood is certainly a good word, too, so I guess my use of community comes from habit. I really try to refrain from using the super-impersonal "subdivision" as often anymore, because it just seems a bit too real estate-esque to me.
I know that the title above says "Active Rain Real Estate Network", but I think most people I have seen refer to this as an online "community", which sounds nice and cozy (which is fitting, in my opinion). Imagine if you heard it referred to as the Active Rain Society. That sounds far more secretive and strange. What odd type of behavior would that indicate? It sounds vaguely like a group of conspiracy theorists to me, or perhaps people who worship weather patterns.
Choose your words carefully, and make them all count.
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