Free Sex at Harvard: The Power of Words

Free Sex Harvard

Did I get your attention? The words free, sex, and Harvard are known as the most attention grabbing words in the English language. Our eyes are drawn to these words like ants to a picnic, like children to Playspace, or like middle age moms to book clubs. These words may get more views and interaction than any other singular words and so this post is a (no longer) secret experiment. I want to see if I get more hits on this post than any other because of my title that combines the power of the words (to quote Captain Planet: “with our powers combined!”). However, as long as I am discussing the power of words it is a topic that I have many thoughts about.

Words are used by marketers, writers, advertisers, and every other person who works in the world (except a few math people, who do use words when they publish). In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to live in modern society without communicating. Communication and more specifically words are used for many purposes though the most basic of them is to relay an idea from one party to another. Usually words are used to convince a person or multiple people to do something or buy something or think something. This means that words generally have an objective. This objective, however, can only be accomplished if people notice the words that you use. Hence, the often use of Harvard, sex, and free.

Words are used in a multitude of ways in different jobs. I recognize that in marketing and advertising, words are used both consciously and sub-consciously received to convince consumers to purchase their product or service. One example where advertisers and marketers use words cleverly in ad or marketing campaigns is Budweiser. Someone who drinks Budweiser is not more American than another citizen of the United States, yet Budweiser = America. To be able to make something about an idea, a word, that sparks emotion is the true beauty of their craft for  all these workers. I know more about the use of words in political framing and in public relations.

In public relations, as opposed to advertising and marketing, words are used to portray a perspective. The main difference is that the words used by PR practitioners (note the word choice) are more subtle. They are not shoving anything down the throat of the consumers, rather suggesting a new perspective on an issue. The issue can be new or timeless, but a new frame can be provided by the PR practitioner.

In addition, the phrase “framing” has recently become the political hot-word (an example of the power each word can hold). “Framers,” in the political sphere, are people who know which words are the right ones to use. For example, the famous Republican Party Guru Frank Lutz (http://www.luntzglobal.com/) and counter part Democratic Party Guru George Lakoff (http://georgelakoff.com/) are framers. These men and women who frame political issues are able to create and change the public perception. It is exposed in this article by Matt Bai of the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/magazine/17DEMOCRATS.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0http://. This article pretty much says that both parties are starting to realize that what matters more than what you say, is what the public hears.

Being able to change someones perspective is unique to the use of words and communication. Words can change the way we think about abortion (pro-life vs. pro-choice), filibuster (“abuse of power”), and Presidential candidates (“outsourcer-in-cheif”).

Finally, the last thing I want to touch on is the use of framing in speeches. Speeches have the ability to change peoples’ perspectives, shape passions, and create an emotional tie to the topic. Speeches have the unique ability to give a voice to an issue and a cause. This can be seen, specifically, in Obama’s most recent State of the Union. It was the only part worth watching, where he eloquently and passionately spoke about gun control and the “one vote” (frame alert). He framed it carefully in a way which allowed him to maximize his goal – to create a vote in Congress, by using a distinct emotional voice. Speeches allow great orators (Churchill, King, and others) to frame their issues in a uber-personal way. They can frame issues using their own distinct voice with well chose words and repetition. (HINT: for those who never realized what they were doing when they repeat themselves in a speech, they are often (not always) framing a position).

If I use the word Harvard, sex and free and it gets me an incredible amount of hits on my blog then this experiment has been a success. If not, it was fun to write about.

Side point: here is a fantastic rap song by Caskey (weird video) about the power of words – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBfWapATFjk

 

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