Sunday, July 11, 2010

Psssst, hey you...

...yeah you, over here. Have you been noticing the new (well, sort of new) chum-chummy, anthropomorphic way software companies have been talking to you? You don't know them, but they're one of your oldest friends. No need for formalities of the past. In fact, the formality now is to be informal. Company announcements all seem to require some sort of tongue and cheek, cutesy comment. In the past, this lack of seriousness was most likely interpreted as incompetence and therefore, not to be trusted by users / consumers. Now, the way to establish trust is to sound a bit like a 25 yr old, a smart one, yes, but someone you'd catch a beer with after the game.

Probably the first example of software anthropomorphism I can think was Google's:
I'm feeling lucky.
Whoa. This search engine has a personality, they're getting into my psyche, and we are sharing a nice little secret, that yes, now that you mention it, I am feeling shamelessly lucky. Even though I probably shouldn't. But ssshhh..we're old friends here, so it's okay, no one has to know.

Anthropomorphism has evolved since into cutesy humor. It's not too showy, just enough to establish that, yep, we're pals:
Trendly is a product of Smallthought Systems, makers of Dabble DB. It used to be called Dshbrd, but nobody knew how to pronounce that.
And now we're seeing this style permeate even the acquisition announcement:
You may have noticed that we’ve been a bit quiet lately. It’s not that we’ve been on vacation; rather we can finally announce today that our company, Smallthought Systems, has been acquired. We're joining forces with our friends at Twitter.
There are many other, better examples. I'm not so tech savvy. But, personally, I like this trend and I'm hoping it grows into a larger movement IRL: down with suits and those damn itchy nylons!

1 comment:

  1. Related and more hilarious: