I wish I could say I was thrilled to be writing this column. Then I would be part of the latest trend in optical business communications. I’m referring to the growing number of optical executives, from CEOs to mid-level managers, who seem to drop the word thrilled into their marketing materials and corporate announcements whenever possible. You could say they’re a bunch of thrill seekers.
As an editor, I’m probably more sensitive to semantics than most people are. But these thrill seekers are getting out of hand.
I just searched my hard drive and came up with 25 recent press releases in which an optical exec claimed to be “thrilled” about partnering with another vendor, hiring a new sales manager and extending its brand of lenses with new materials.
Certainly, there are important business events that are truly thrilling, such as launching a breakthrough technology or winning a lifetime achievement award. But using the word thrilled indiscriminately is nothing more than a “cheap” thrill. As with profanity, we become numb to its meaning if we hear it too often. How can we separate out the truly thrilling from the merely mundane if the word is so casually and frequently used?
The same point can be made about the word “premium,” especially as it relates to lenses. Far too many lens suppliers refer to their products as “premium,” when in fact that description may only be appropriate for certain products that exhibit outstanding characteristics which in turn can justify a higher price tag.
Here’s an idea for all you thrill seekers: How about making a New Year’s resolution to stop abusing your favorite word for at least six months. Then, try using it only for appropriate situations. To help you remember, keep in mind that famous B.B. King song, “The Thrill is Gone.”
—Andrew Karp, firstname.lastname@example.org