Home > People > Whuffiespeak: Tara Hunt Is Not Just Talking Whuffie

Whuffiespeak: Tara Hunt Is Not Just Talking Whuffie

I
interviewed Tara Hunt to learn more about the person behind the writing that
has intrigued, inspired and entertained me. Not surprisingly the list of
questions, tabbed copy of The Whuffie Factor and tape recorder were overkill.
  As soon as
Tara spoke, I relaxed. Why? Whuffiespeak.

I discovered Tara
Hunt before I knew what Whuffie meant, nor did I even know her name was Tara
Hunt. I knew only that Miss Rogue (Tara’s Twitter handle) literally speaks her
own language – precisely why I wanted to learn more about her.  Tara writes and
speaks with informal, unconventional and sometimes made-up words and phrases:
rawk, huzzah, lurve. Her blog is named HorsePigCow. Her recently new book, The
Whuffie Factor
, is about building something called Whuffie,
or “the residual outcome–the currency–of your reputation”.  My
reaction was, as Tara would say, W.T.F. (What the f**k)?

Tara’s language,
which I call Whuffiespeak, personifies Tara Hunt.  Whuffiespeak is accessible,
inclusive, honest, humble, contagious and has a killer sense of humor. It is
ingrained in all realms of Tara’s professional and personal communication.  Creating
new language is nothing new. Remember Pig Latin?  Most industries have
also developed their own languages.  What
is unique about Whuffiespeak is Tara’s use of it and her recognition of its
value.

Tara explains the
incorporation of Whuffiespeak into corporate settings as if it were almost an
accident (Imagine, oops, my personality is showing). As she explains,
she began dropping a couple of words in meetings and realized that these words
engaged her listeners, caught their attention, and, what’s more, others began to
use the words themselves.  Whuffiespeak went corporate.

Don’t get me
wrong, industry-specific language is necessary to communicate in many, if not
most, corporate settings.  Industry-specific language, however, can keep
outsiders just that, outsiders.  There are times when personalizing language, as
Whuffiespeak does, improves communication and the level of engagement. 
Communication flows when you use words that inspire a clear, emotional
connection, rather than industry-specific, formulaic words that can complicate
simple ideas.  For example, if you say that a website ‘rawks’, your colleagues
will understand exactly what you mean.  If you discuss a website in technical
terms, however, you may be expressing the same level of approval without the
enthusiasm or sincerity.  Letting out a “Huzzah!” lets your colleagues
know how you really feel in your gut, far more effective than saying, “The user
interface is very nice.”  It’s the difference between a form letter and a
handwritten letter.

Tara’s first
book, The Whuffie Factor,
320 pages of scrumptious Whuffiespeak, is finally out and available online and in bookstores. Technology,
innovation and social media thought leaders, including Seth Godin, Howard
Rheingold and Tom Kelley, have praised The Whuffie Factor, and Amazon’s
customers also get it.  On average, readers give The Whuffie Factor five
stars (out of five).  The book appeals to a wide range of audiences.  My guess is that
Whuffiespeak is not going away anytime soon.

I am not
advocating that Whuffiespeak become a universal language.  I am  pointing
out the value of finding your own language and not being afraid to use it in
both personal and professional settings.  We
often hear about authors’ finding their voices, but isn’t it equally important
for professionals to find their own language rather than blindly adopt a common
language?  If we don’t create our own languages and forms of expression,
aren’t we simply reading from the same scripts?

Tara’s example of
expressing herself in her own language encouraged me to take action. I cast
aside my belief in maintaining a rigid distinction between my personal and
professional identities. I speak, write, blog and tweet publicly in one voice. Rather
than maintaining multiple identities, I am creating my own version of
Whuffiespeak, and, trust me, it rawks.

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  1. JustElle
    May 21, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Great article on Tara Hunt and the Whuffie Factor! I have been meaning to read her book, and now you have fully convinced me to sit down and read it! Thanks for the share earlier as well!!

  2. Liza Sperling
    May 22, 2009 at 12:33 am

    @justelle Look forward to hearing your thoughts on @missrogue ‘s Whuffie Factor. Thank you for your kind blog comment. Goal is to create conversation.

  3. Jorge Jaime
    May 22, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Tara Hunt, has a great style and amazing ideas. I’m reading the book right now, I’m on the Garyvee part. Whuffiespeak is a great thing for making people get in the conversation and for expressing true emotions. Great post!

  4. Liza Sperling
    May 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    @Garyvee is proof @missrogue is referring to real people in the Whuffie Factor. Soon to post list of Whuffiespeak quotes. Thank you for joining the conversation and commenting. I hope you will also enjoy the next person I write about. Stay tuned. I noticed you also started a Posterous blog, so I am following and hope to see some posts. First is the hardest.

  5. Jorge Jaime
    May 22, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I was thinking the same, my first post will take some time but then I saw i can post to various sites here so I guess I’ll be using it. As I read The Whuffie Factor I find lot’s of examples I know about and it’s like the “Competitve Strategy” of social-economy because it shows the path in how all relationships (business and non-business) are being created and will be in the future.

  6. MLDina
    May 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I’ve been following Tara on Twitter for a few months, but just recently started seeing more buzz about WhuffieSpeak. I give her a ton of credit for being unique and a social leader. I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for her book and her language, and am impressed with the level it’s gotten to!

  7. Liza Sperling
    May 23, 2009 at 3:54 am

    I encourage you to read the book. I will post a cheat sheet of my fave Whuffiespeak quotes, but don’t let me be the filter. Thanks for your comment – it means a lot!

  8. purplepod
    May 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I think you rawk!

  9. purplepod
    May 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    please post more interviews/thoughts/ideas/suggestions, I’ll be looking for them with lucy-like scent

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