ATRIUM: Acronym That Reduces your Intended Underlying Meaning

Before starting MailerMailer (and my previous company, GovCon), I used to work for the federal government as an engineer. We had lots of acronyms. Just about every place, every procedure, and every event had an acronym. Sometimes, you couldn’t even remember what the acronym stood for. There’s nothing wrong with using acronyms, unless of course you don’t realize how your new “word” comes across to the rest of the world.

Take this one from a recent email I received: Student Organization Reception & Employer Networking Dinner. I was invited to attend this event as part of a recruiting fair. The link to register used the event’s acronym in the web site’s address: SOREND. Yup, I can’t wait to attend that “sore end” soire.

The thing about acronyms is that you really need to see them as your customers could see them. One of my favorite examples of what not to do is from a governmental organization’s Department of Economic Development. Lots of municipalities have such departments to help foster business growth. This one was quite excited to put out their email newsletter, the “DED Update” (no periods separating D – E – D). Think about this for a moment. They are telling readers about how they are helping businesses grow through a “dead update”.

So before you get carried away with a cool new acronym, ask yourself if you just created an ATRIUM (Acronym That Reduces your Intended Underlying Meaning).

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