It’s OK to call your users, users


Playing with the English language can be fun. Do you remember when Jack Dorsey banned banned the term ‘users’ from the Square work place?

There was a discussion around the coupling of “drug users” to your clients/customers. I have heard of some folk who want to blanket-change the term at their work place too.

That view may be throwing the baby out with the bath water though. There are many terms that can have a subset usage that is something society may think of as “bad”. In the drug realm itself there are many. Should chemists not use the term ‘acid’?

If you look at the term “customer” you can see it as:

One that purchases a commodity or service

Great, that may fit the bill nicely. For Square this indeed can fit in very nicely indeed, which is why Jack may have opted for it there compared to Twitter, where there are many users who do not purchase a thing.

Now take a look at the word user again. What if you think of it as:

One who gets use of a commodity or service

I get a lot of use out of Twitter. Building something that people get use of seems pretty compelling to me, so don’t rush to kick out your users.

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