Thursday, July 20, 2006

Is Your Website "Cool?"

An article in Salon kvetches about there being no more "cool Jews" today.

Oy! The poor fellow confuses being alienated with being "cool."

This is not the place for a religious or sociological debate. But the piece does raise a marketing issue. We are assured that it is somehow good to be "cool." Did you ever think about how a word that means "neither warm nor very cold" came to mean "excellent"?

The Usage Council of the American Heritage Dictionary wonders aloud how and why "Slang expressions meaning the same thing as cool, like bully, capital, hot, groovy, hep, crazy, nervous, far-out, rad, and tubular..." faded out while Joe Cool is still feeling groovy.

Most of my dictionaries weren't too helpful with this. So I checked the Oxford English Dictionary. It defines cool as
1. a. Moderately cold; said of a temperature which, in contrast with heat, is cold enough to be agreeable and refreshing, or, in contrast with cold, is not so low as to be positively disagreeable or painful.
It also lists a few figurative definitions including:
3. a. Chilled, depressed....
4. a. Of persons (and their actions): Not heated by passion or emotion; unexcited, dispassionate; deliberate, not hasty; undisturbed, calm.
d. Applied to jazz music: restrained or relaxed in style; also applied to the performer...
e. Hence, characteristic of those who favour 'cool' music; relaxed; unemotional; also used loosely as a general term of approval; cool cat:
Two of the examples the OED quotes are a 1947 record by the Charlie Parker Quartet called "Cool Blues" and a 1948 article from the New Yorker: "The bebop people have a language of their own... Their expressions of approval include 'cool'!"

So tell me.... Do you really want to deal with a target market that's dispassionate and aloof? Cool, man!

Or do you want people who are responsive, involved, passionate and excited... and ready to buy?

Ah, gives me a warm feeling just thinking about it......

No comments:

Post a Comment