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Adding ‘English Subtitles’ to Propellerheads' Prop Wash

Aug. 9, 2023
Our content can sometimes seem like a complicated foreign movie that needs English subtitles to be understood.

If we want to attract our audience’s interest we need to include the “English Subtitles”—explanations of the complex concepts we offer, along with the reasons why we’re offering them. Once we have created contexted clarity we can deliver and highlight  a quote or a “show me”—a small portion of the information we present.

I have been lacking these English subtitles and going straight into the technical details. The history of for 25 years is Propellerheads talking to Propellerheads,

A Propellerhead, for those who don’t know, is a slang term for someone exceptionally knowledgeable, especially in a technical field. This slang has become synonymous with computer geek or techno-geek. Propellerhead was first used in 1982 and is still used in technology development companies and organizations. The term was taken from cartoon characters of techie fans who happen to wear a child’s beanie cap with a propeller sticking out at the top of it.

Now marketing needs to provide English subtitles to prepare the unwashed for the prop wash they are about to experience.

This youtube video summarizes July sessions where I verbalize the need for English Subtitles.

This captured collection of Youtube links, The Future Vision of Cloud-Native Buildings, connects to July’s complex discussions and thoughts on what cloud-native buildings are. It is lacking English Subtitles, except for this one that acts as a bandaid:

“Cloud-native” might seem foreign, but the data architecture is very familiar. Most of us use it every day without even knowing it. You use a cloud-native architecture if you have a smartphone with an app. Most of the “stuff” that makes up a social media, calendar, or other app exists outside your phone. Sure, we download apps to our phones, and most of us think that’s where they live, but most of the data, processing, etc., that makes apps work lives someplace else—that someplace is the cloud. Cloud-native buildings work similarly, where resources, data, and computation would happen, not just somewhere else but everywhere.

But more English subtitles are needed.

Using examples, like, “you use a cloud-native architecture if you have a smartphone with an app.” It paints a picture that we all can relate to. Using Infogrammes and animated graphics is a great way to deliver the bridging subtitling we are talking about.

In Episode 421 of Control Talk Now I share my concerns about unwinding our propeller talk—our prop wash. Linking time-curated YouTube to help with our English Subtitles can be very effective.

We often find that it is new editors in our industry who can best provide these subtitles—in fact, they themselves may need help understanding some concepts when they first come to the industry. After a time, they will start talking funny, like us, and their value will diminish as English Subtitle writers.

Our Contributing Editor, Brian Collins, provides this wisdom:

Any good content marketing strategy will repurpose its content. When it makes sense, we should create ONE piece of content (e.g., an interview) and then use it to make other pieces. We save time. For example, we turn an interview into a blog, then turn that blog into a video and embed it, then chop that video up into an extended version (YouTube) and a short version (TikTok). These pieces reinforce and point to one another to make one cohesive piece.

We should find a piece of content and take a shot at including the “English Subtitles” while repurposing it. I want to take a stab at “translating” the Cloud-Native idea. 

First, we need to clarify what the cloud is. Here’s an article that does just that from none other than Brian Collins, What’s the Cloud? A Non-Techie Explanation. Excerpt:

Cloud computing has been around for a while, but longevity never ensures understanding. I mean, the general theory of relativity is 108-years old, and I still don’t get it. So, I’ve challenged myself to use my skills in simplifying technical jargon to explain how “the cloud” works.

Here is another example of how we speak in annoying acronyms, like CABA/ASHB. Yes, that is clear to the unwashed. For some subtitle, back in July the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) announced a name change to the Association for Smarter Homes & Buildings (ASHB).

These carefully curated subtitles, for many, will become the message if they are well-contexted. They would become the Coles Notes for the industry. Many folks need to know about the existence of the information in our posts and the Community of Practice that supports these concepts.

Blast from the past: Communities of Practice from March 14, 2019.

The amount of information we all need to absorb is so overwhelming that understanding the concepts presented by posting its COP and the URL for retrieval may be enough for most.

The editorial skill to write carefully curated context-correct subtitles will be a valuable commodity to our industry and is an immediate need.

About the Author

Ken Sinclair | Editor/Owner/Founder

Ken Sinclair has been called an oracle of the digital age. He sees himself more as a storyteller and hopes the stories he tells will be a catalyst for the IoT future we are all (eventually) going to live. The more than 50 chapters in that ongoing story of digital transformation below are peppered with HTML links to articles containing an amazing and diverse amount of information.

Ken believes that systems will be smarter, self-learning, edgy, innovative, and sophisticated, and to create, manage and re-invent those systems the industry needs to grow our most important resource, our  younger people, by reaching out to them with messages about how vibrant, vital and rewarding working in this industry can be.

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