Are you a togs, bathers or swimmers person?

Where do you stand on sausage sandwiches?

And do you prefer a snog or a pash?

These questions, and others similarly linguistic in nature, have been creating debate around the country as the Linguistics Roadshow released a series of maps showing Australia’s language proclivities. The study used survey responses to map the regional differences in dialogue – one man’s potato cake is another man’s potato scallop – and settle once and for all if we are a nation of elastic band or lacker band users.

The results certainly sparked discussion and other studies have gone further still to identify regional dialects (do you ‘dance’ in ‘pants’ or with your ‘aunt’?) as well as feed into the terminology debate.

And while the differences are blurring (it’s getting harder to tell a South Australian from a Victorian based on their pronunciation), the key here is that there are still differences.

The language and terminology of our childhood is changing – and the use of mass and social media is speeding that change up. With the largest group of social media users sitting firmly in Gen Y (or Millennials – those born in the 1980s and 90s),  it’s pretty safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before emoticons, emoji or pictographs enter the wider communications lexicon.

From social media mores to generational and cultural colloquialism, keeping in touch with the Joneses is now the foundation of good communication.

Choosing the right language for the tool at hand has never been more important. A picture tells a thousand words on Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter – after your 140 characters are up (where would we be without Bitly for shortening links?). But Facebook is still king for engagement. And content – with your delicate selection of words – drives it all.

Audiences have more choice about their connections, how they interact and with whom. The implication for sustainability communicators is that choosing the right language for the right tool, can help keep our audiences tuned in.

Organics in the bin or greens in the rubbish.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure after all…

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