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The Interrobang?! The Evolution of Language – Part 3

Part 3 of our look into the evolution of language. Today I’m going to talk about the interrobang: a nonstandard mark of punctuation in the form of a question mark superimposed on an exclamation point (but sometimes appearing as ?!).

(Unicode code point U+203D)

This punctuation mark has been described as “an obscure punctuation mark” and the “twentieth century punctuation mark.” The actual name is derived from blending “interrogation” and “bang.” Merriam-Webster actually defined the interrobang as “a punctuation mark designed for use especially at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question.”

The invention of this clever punctuation mark has been credited to Martin Speckter, head of a New York advertising agency. Mr. Speckter invented the name and shape of this character in 1962 after seeing advertising copywriters use both marks together to imply a blend of question and exclamation. He believed a single mark could be used to elicit the same emotion of wonder and curiosity.

At first, the interrobang was received positively, citing that there are times where a plain question mark alone “just isn’t adequate.” For example, “He did what‽” Sadly, by the late 1980s, the interrobang had fallen out of favor.

More recently, however, the pendulum has swung back, and the interrobang has gained a following again. In fact, a reverse and upside down interrobang, the gnaborretni (interrobang backwards) has been used in Spanish sentences.

While small, the interrobang is mighty. In fact, it has a Twitter page dedicated to it with nearly 44,000 followers! First Merriam-Webster, then Twitter, next the world‽‽‽

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I know, right? The Evolution of Language – Part 2

Previously, I talked about the evolution of language and its effect on marketing. This week I decided to talk about one of my favorite evolutions in language: “I know, right?”

Paul: The weather is beautiful today!

Dan: I know, right?

Did you see what happened there? Paul made a statement. Dan responded that “he knows,” followed up by “right?” Some people believe that Dan’s response is requiring affirmation, a pulling back of confidence to avoid seeming pushy, an opinion that requires validation. Paul did just say the weather was nice; why is Dan agreeing THEN asking if it’s right?

And how about this version:

Brian: The weather is beautiful today, am I right?

What’s happening here? This has become so popular, recently, that these have even evolved into a short-hand: “iknorite” and “amirite.” Why is everyone requiring confirmation for their opinions? And why is this irritating so many people?

To answer this, let’s look back. Surprisingly to many people, this isn’t a new thing. As Language Log points out, people have been employing this expression for a long time without anyone noticing or even complaining.

For example, in William Dean Howells 1907 play A Previous Engagement:

Mrs. Winston: “How delightful! Why it’s quite like something improper!”

Mr. Camp: “Yes, isn’t it?”

Or in Alexandra Potter’s The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather:

Her jaw drops. “Oh my gosh that’s just . . .” She trails off, words failing her momentarily, before coming alive again. “Splendid!” she gushes finally. “Simply splendid!” She beams at me, almost trembling with excitement.

Watching her reaction it suddenly throws my own into contrast. She’s absolutely right. It is splendid. Though I’d probably choose to describe it as fantastic, I think, bemused by Beatrice’s choice of adjective.

“I know, isn’t it?” I enthuse, mirroring her excitement.

 It seems that these characters aren’t requiring affirmation. Instead it appears as though they’re inviting each other to continue sharing their thoughts. And while “isn’t it” can’t always be substituted one-for-one with “I know, right” and “am I right,” I believe the intention is the same.

Regardless, this is an interesting trend and a great example of the evolution of language. And now that you know what to listen for, you’ll begin to hear this phrase everywhere – amirite?

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The Evolution of Language – Part 1

How often have you heard that texting and social media sites, like Twitter, are leading to the decline of literacy and language among young people in the United States and around the world? That sounds very foreboding, doesn’t it? However, linguists like John McWhorter argue that this, in fact, isn’t true.



John McWhorter’s – TED Talk

First, we need to differentiate between casual speed and writing; although language and often written, it is different from writing. In the distant past, there was a time when speaking and writing were one of the same. Think, for example, of those speeches you often hear in movies, the ones that are long and very formal – this is speaking like writing.

Well, if we can speak like we write, can’t we write like we speak? This wasn’t manageable for a long time because nothing could keep up with the pace of speaking and deliver your message quickly – until texting.

Texting allows us to write the way we talk – a looser form of writing. This looseness leads us to believe that something is wrong, that language and writing abilities are declining. But really, this is a new complexity, more of an evolution than a decline.

Speaking of evolution, have you thought about LOL lately? Remember back in the day when LOL meant “laughing out loud?” Is it news to you that it has evolved? John McWhorter explains that LOL has evolved into a marker of empathy, a marker of accommodation. Hey, check it out – evolution has occurred in front of our eyes!

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to explore some more interesting trends and evolutions in language, such as:

  • I know, right?
  • The interrobang (?!)
  • I can’t even
  • The vicious period.

While this is very interesting, I also have a point: stay on top of this evolution! As social media continues to evolve our language, marketing will also need to adapt and evolve. Who knows, in the future we may only communicate via images!

CYO Marketing provides a full array of marketing services including Public Relations and Marketing Communications plans. Learn more by visit our website at

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10 Totally Awesome Reasons to Love The Masters!


 1. Pimento cheese sandwiches made fresh daily!


2. The Green jacket!



3. Caddie uniforms!



4. Patrons!!!



5. Amen Corner, Ike’s cabin, Rae’s creek, Hogan, Nelson and Sarazen bridges, the Butler Cabin, and naming every darn hole! 



5. Suddenly grown men everywhere are into the beauty of flowers the second week in April! 



 6. Jimmy Nantz’s velvety voice has put more men to sleep than a mothers rocking new borns! 



 7. Limited commercial interruptions all weekend long! 



 8. The course!



9. The Par three contest! 



10. Ceremonial first tee!






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Facebook – To Boost or Not to Boost?


“Marketers are mad becuase they are being asked to pay for something that was free not too long ago!” 


Ever since the kids in Silicon Valley sporting hoodies and Chuck Taylors decided to play in the world of tailor made suits and high end Italian dress shoes the world of Facebook marketing has never been the same. Facebook is in the business of making money. This means figuring out ways to generate revenue. One in which limits the number of people that will see your posts unless you are willing to pay. However it’s still a tremendous marketing engine.

I see a high number of small business owners, community managers, and marketing professionals complaining about have to pay for something they got for free just a few short years ago, that being engagement. Facebook now operates off a model to generate revenue. Which means your posts will likely get less eyeballs, less shares, less likes, less comments,  less engagement and less people going to their website which all equates to less effectiveness of converting people into buyers, unless of course you are willing to pay.

I recently performed an experiement of boosting a blog post on Facebook. My goal was to two-fold. The first was to get engagement with my company Facebook page and secondly to generate views of my blog to generate additional subscribers. I targeted a specific geographic location, age, and interests based on the topic of the blog article. This might be dummed down a bit for the sopshisticated marketing professional, but I’m trying to explain this in simplest of terms, the results were interesting:

Investment $25 to boost ad on Facebook resulting in an average CPC of 7 cents!

Interaction with Post


This screen shot shows the number of "Likes" as a result of boosting this post!

This screen shot shows the number of “Likes” as a result of boosting this post!


Increase in "Likes" over time.

Increase in “Likes” over time the 5 day period!


Comparison of Paid vs. Organic on Facebook.

Comparison of Paid vs. Organic on Facebook.


Google Analytics tracks major increase in website visits.

Google Analytics reports over 1,750 web visits as a result of boosting ad on Facebook. Also showing you better be mobile, however engagement w/paid boost is nominal.


Paid engagement results in a lot of activity but not engagement.

Paid engagement results in a lot of views but not engagement. 


Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 7.34.51 AM

Acquisition coorelating the data back to the boosted ad on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 7.36.02 AMWhile many feel that people are leaving Facebook in droves, that’s somewhat overstated. It’s true that the younger demographic has decided they don’t want to hang out with their parents on Facebook and are turning to platforms with even more instant gratification, such as Instagram, Snap Chat and Twitter.

However the fact is that the majority of working professionals, not in the tech or marketing business can still be found on the mother of all social media platforms. As Gary Vaynerchuk put it best by saying there are a ton of “40 year old house wives with two kids posting duck face selfies on Facebook” or Dad’s sharing pictures of recent family vacations to connect with friends and family. Many adults are just becoming competent at using Facebook, don’t underestimate of investing a few dollars to expand your reach to drive business. Marketers are just made becuase they are being asked to pay for something that was free not too long ago! 

Leave a comment, subcribe to our blog to get great marketing ideas and contact us to discuss your Facebook marketing strategy!


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Fight or Flight….or Facebook?

The mechanism designed by our bodies to help us cope with (and hopefully survive) threats to our survival is called “fight or flight.” This is an automatic response that helps mobilize the body’s resources to deal with the threatening circumstance. The body releases hormones to increase heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and prepare the body to either fight or flee from the threat.

What’s amazing is that a new “f-word” is being added to this automatic response – Facebook. More recently, the first thing people are doing after a traumatic event isn’t calling home or taking a moment to be thankful for surviving said event. The first thing people are doing is posting about it to social media.

For example, about a week ago a US Airways plane blew a tire during takeoff and ended up skidding across the runway on the plane’s nose. The event was understandable scary and thankfully, all the passengers are okay and no serious injuries were incurred.


While the 149 passengers and crew were evacuating the plane, an interesting thing occurred. One of the passengers filmed herself, Blair-Witch-style, running away from the airplane, then posted the video and other images to Twitter. But this woman wasn’t the only one, other passengers also tweeted photos and videos of the scene.


How do you feel about that? And when did this phenomenon start to happen? Does that seem crazy that social media is a top resource post-crisis, or does it seem completely normal? For those that chosen the former, let me put things into perspective.

Google has created Public Alerts and Crisis Maps to help people after a catastrophe or natural disaster has occurred. Google’s Public Alerts brings together “instructions for severe weather conditions and non-weather alerts such as missing persons, wildfires and earthquakes.”

So, after a natural disaster, someone could essentially use these programs to connect to loved ones and let them know they are okay. Or reach out and look for displaced family members and friends. Does this phenomenon seem so crazy now?

What do you think: is the utilization of social media after a crisis an act of vanity or a good utilization of resources at hand? And most importantly, how will this affect us?

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Cold Calling. Do people still do this?


 cold calling

Remember this?  I wonder how many salespeople still grind away at this age-old practice, and futile exercise.  We, as salespeople, HATE, cold-calling.  But, I’m here to tell you…it still has its place…and purpose!  It just looks a little different than those days of you pounding away on the phone, getting hung up on, blown off with “send me your information” replies, and “who are you again” rebuttals…all for what?  To which you begin to think, there has to a more effective way, isn’t that so-and-so’s job, and of course, “nobody picks up the phone anymore”!  All justified questions or rationalizations we, as salespeople, make to ourselves, and the reality is today, with the Digital atmosphere at our fingertips, there are more effective, less intrusive ways to create awareness, drive demand, and fill up our sales funnels.  So what if you combined the practice of cold-calling with all that the Digital and Marketing world has to offer?  What if you picked up the phone after an email campaign, webinar, content download, and or website visit to call these engaged and interested folks?  And we mean, right away, while the iron is hot as the saying goes…after all we are still salespeople, aggressiveness is in our genes, get after it, lest it be a sales game anymore!  Is that still cold-calling?  Well, yes and no. yes on the calling, but NO on the cold.  What if that next time you pick up the phone, and actually get an interested buyer, are you ready, prepared?  Are you so beat down by the constant rejection, that you can’t summon the skill, or guts to make your pitch, advance the sale, or better yet, close the deal?  Do you have some upfront knowledge, or information on this potential to better script yourself?  Then arm yourself, be proactive, use the resources you have before you pick up the phone.  Get a strategy, don’t just go out there, “spraying and praying” with the notion the person on the other end of the line, actually cares one iota what you’re puking up at him or her.  If you don’t have any resources, then hire someone!  You never know when that golden moment or window might appear on the phone, will you be ready, will know what you’re talking about, are you still a salesperson!

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Let the Madness (Marketing) Begin


It’s that time of year, March Madness is upon us…are you ready?  While you pour over the wealth of information on the teams that have a shot at cutting down the nets this year in your March Madness pools, think about this?  What are you doing on your Marketing front?  Are you X-ing and O-ing your game plan to improve your lead generation, demand, awareness, and conversion rates?  To reference Basketball jargon, “you need to execute”, “be aggressive”, start taking the ball and your Marketing plan to hoop!  Like speed and the ability to make shots on the court, you better have an ability or appetite to get on the Digital court.  Start with a Web re-do, get an email campaign rolling, launch your social media presence, and try a Webinar!  As with any team heading into March Madness, you’ve got to be prepared out there, lest you be upset, or left behind!  So, let’s get in on, this is the time for one shining moment…will yours be cutting down the nets?

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March Madness King of Post Season Advertising


Today’s the day that 64 teams (excluding the now play in games) get their chance to make a run for the NCAA basketball men’s championship. Otherwise know as March Madness, a cultural phenomenon has happened right underneath our sneakers.

While the college basketball’s lengthy season tends to get lost in the shuffle, their post season tournament that identifies one final winner through tournament play has an allure. Not just my opinion but the fact is that the NCAA tournament has surpassed all other athletic contests in post season ad dollars spent, nudging out America’s new favorite pastime, NFL football.

The NCAA basketball tournament has a huge impact on the economy, consider it’s one of the busiest weekends of the year in Las Vegas, of which people aren’t going there for shows and the buffets, but for the betting action on what seems like 100 college hoop games a day.

One thing we know about sports. Fans want engagement beyond just watching. They are looking to feel the are a part of the action, whether through social media, fantasy football or filling out a bracket. Filling out a bracket in the NCAA tourney is the equivalent to NFL’s fantasy football. It pulls you in, gives you a reason to watch a directional school play one of the big boys in hopes that you calling an upset makes you a hero in your office pool.

86% of the working population will look at their brackets on the company clock.  Traditionally, going back all the way to high school. I’ve blown off school, college classes and work on the first Friday of March Madness to watch basketball, study my bracket, even one notorious weekend in Vegas of the first weekend of the tournament and as a self proclaimed basketball junkie, talk, eat and sleep college hoops for the next month!

So fire up your bracket, have the remember when conversation about Lattner hitting the shot, Stacy Augmon playing for 10 years at UNLV, Carmello Anthony dominating the tourney for the Cuse’s first national championship. Dust off that old basketball jersey and whether your on a couch or bar stool, get ready to settle in for what’s become an unofficial national holiday.

When they finally cue the music for One Shinning Moment and cut down the nets (wishing secretly that I’d always had a cameo) and a sadness comes over that it’s over and the joy of March passing, keep in mind that your basketball hangover will be cured by Master’s Week in Augusta, Georgia!


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Where are the leads?



As someone who searches for leads, uncovering any and all possibilities for that one or  2 or 3 people that want to “talk business”, I, like most out there, NEED THE LEADS.  As Alec Baldwin, in Glen Garry Glen Ross not so subtlety put it, “these leads are for closers”!  So how do you go about acquiring interested, or engaged people to pitch or present to…that’s an age old question, and problem.  But while there are many in the Sales and Marketing world that have the answers, and strategies (and lots of good stuff by the way), I want that magic bullet.  Well, I’m here to say, that Webinars are by far the most effective lead generation tool I have utilized and experienced.  While not a new concept, the webinar has become for me as a provider of sales and marketing services and a benefactor, the magic bullet or elixir for obtaining quality leads.  How many times have you had to pick up the phone, and re-qualify a supposedly already “ready-to-go” prospect?  The very nature of the Webinar registration process nets upfront buying criteria, so that follow up can  start immediately beyond, “hey just following up with you”.  For real bang for your buck, and an increased pipeline of contenders, not pretenders, consider the Webinar strategy.  To close, always remember, “the lead doesn’t make the man, the man makes the lead”…but good solid leads are always nice to have! 

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