I keep wanting to use the word webinar, but I can’t decide if it is too jargony. This lexical conundrum reminds me of when the word workout went mainstream. It sounded too jargony to me, and I used to say go-to-the-gym and a not-so-snappy stand-in.

Should I use the word webinar?

Should I tell you how many times Ryan Paugh told me that I have to announce the webinar if I want people to come to it? I kept not announcing anything because I didn’t know what to call it.

Whatever we are calling it, it will happen on this Friday, 1pm est. (Sign up here.) I know that people in Australia cannot listen at this time slot. You have told me before, and I’m listening. One day I will do a webinar at midnight. One day I will record webinars so it won’t matter so much what time slot they happen in. One day there will be world peace.

On Friday we will talk about finding fulfillment, which is actually like establishing world peace, just doing it one person at a time. In an act of full disclosure, I’m going to tell you that knowing what to do is not the hard part of finding fulfillment. Doing it is the hard part. It’s like breaking up with a terrible boyfriend when the sex is really good. Not that I have ever had this problem. I have found that part of what makes a terrible boyfriend is terrible sex. But whatever. I can imagine the problem. The problem is that you know what to do and you don’t do it.

Wait. Actually, that’s the problem with everything. Like, I knew I was going to have to write a post about the webinar where I don’t know if I should use the word webinar. I knew it wasn’t going to change if I waited so long to write the post that Ryan Paugh wants to kill me. But I waited anyway. Why do we not take the action that we know is the right action? I will not be covering this problem in the webinar.

But sign up anyway. Here.

51 replies
  1. jim
    jim says:

    “Live video chat” has a more specific meaning, and communicates value more clearly, than the vague “webinar.” So forget webinar.

  2. Lee
    Lee says:

    A post on “Why do we not take the action that we know is the right action?” would be really relevant for me right now. Would you please write about that?

    A post would be more helpful than a webinar/video chat/whatever.

    Thank you.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thanks for asking, Lee. I have actually already written about this topic. I thought of linking in the post. And then I didn’t, but your comment makes me think it would have been a good idea. So I went back to the post and put the link in.

      Which is a great illustration of the answer to your question. The reason we don’t do what we know we should be doing is that we don’t trust our instinct. My first thought was to put the link in. I should have done that. No big deal that I am doing it five minutes after posting, though. It’s a bigger deal to not go with our instinct when we are, for example, choosing to relocate for a job or not.

      Okay. More on that in the webinar.

      Penelope

  3. Tim
    Tim says:

    Webinar/Web-cast implies one-way communication
    Web Chat implies two way

    Have you considered also making it available as a Podcast? Very difficult to attend anything like this during “work time”.

    Thanks

  4. Mneiae
    Mneiae says:

    I’m very excited, as this is the first webinar that I will be able to attend. Webinar is a portmanteau word and should be treated just as “chortle” is. It’s readily accepted and used, so I don’t feel that it’s wrong to use. Language is always evolving.

  5. LPC
    LPC says:

    I have no problem with webinar. The word describes a thing that didn’t use to exist, it’s not a new word invented to get all fancy around something known. Video chat means, to me, a chat on video. No defined topic, no specific leader. Webinar means, to me, a seminar via the web, i.e. one person leads, topic is set.

  6. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I noticed the word webinar didn’t make it to the title. I think that’s significant … and telling at the same time.

  7. EllenSka
    EllenSka says:

    If we’re stuck with the ugly and pitiable word “blog,” we might as well abandon all hope for a beautiful language and use “webinar” too, until something elegant comes along.

  8. rainie
    rainie says:

    I love these presentations and wish I could attend this one. I will be glad when you’re able to record them for viewing later, too.

  9. Ryan Paugh
    Ryan Paugh says:

    Since you brought up the fact that I’m always bitching about webinars, you need to send me marketing copy for the one you’re doing w/ Amanda Hite in April. That’s right, I’m calling you out in public now :)

  10. QuinnCreative
    QuinnCreative says:

    The bad thing about jargon is that it’s like 7th grade–all the cool kids use the words that make your brain scream. If we keep using the word, it becomes the established norm. But, luckily, we have good alternatives. Live Web Chat, Live Video Conference, You ‘n’Me, on the TV–whatever describes the method is OK. Whatever describes the content is better. Feature/Benefit is best.

  11. Chris M.
    Chris M. says:

    Heh. When you follow the link to register, it says it’s a “webcast” – not webinar, not live chat. Funny how each person at Brazen Careerist seems to have a different preference for terminology :-).

  12. Lori
    Lori says:

    Webinar makes my eyes glaze over…..I like video chat…obviously there is a topic as you stated the topic…just because you call it a live video chat or whatever does not mean there will not be a topic..it all comes down to the Myers-Briggs personality inventory…The INTJ’s will want more definition..the ENFP’s will not care!!! I am an ESTP..enuf said…By the way P..you are a JOY period!!

  13. Irina I
    Irina I says:

    I really want to see this webinar but it’s during work hours! Is there any way AT ALL this could be recorded and posted on YouTube of something? Even with a webcam…

  14. Anca
    Anca says:

    Maybe you could start this post with a section of “reasons why live video chats are a useful format”. Because otherwise I’ll I’m thinking is how the structure is going to fall apart, viewers will contribute time-wasting questions, the content will not be available for later viewing/reading, I’ll forget to attend (like I did with the last one). Also, a webinar (yeah, bad word) reminds me of your radio show…and you do much better in the polished written format.

  15. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for acknowledging us out here in Oz! It’s nice to know that we are on your radar. Oh, and no need to do one at midnight, when 6/7am your time might work out alright for all the Oz timezones.

  16. denise
    denise says:

    P: I like “live video chat”–seems to say it all. It’s live. It’s on video. Chat implies informal and less structured than a seminar (on the web). I have not had the opportunity to attend your live video chats because they are in the middle of the day, but if I could I would. On the other hand, I’d most probably pass on a webinar. I think it’s the seeming bar for personal investment that would stop me. Seminar? Should I take notes?

    I too request access to video chats “anytime” vs. real time. Thanks!

  17. In Thailand
    In Thailand says:

    Would a kind participant take notes? I’m in Thailand on vacation and will be asleep at the time it takes place.

    I’d be much appreciative, and I bet Penelope would be too – as that’d help with one of her problems (recording the webcast).

    You could even use Google Docs to have several participants collaborate on notes in realish time.

  18. cindy
    cindy says:

    This made me burst out laughing. Thank you. I needed that. I’m trying to drag myself out the door to work at my own start up and I’m exhausted because I was up till 1:30 am working on my business plans, yes plans, plural….two start ups that are dear to me but leaving me exhausted at the moment and I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing, other than napping, which is why I’m sitting here and not out the door yet……..I napped for 30 minutes so I could get through the next several hours, then I made an omelet, then I read this and thought that what I really should be doing is getting my tired self into the car instead of responding to your post…..Then my new “friend” keeps texting me with requests for things I really am not in the mood for at the moment because I have these two start ups see and “what underwear I have on” is not something I feel like texting about or taking pictures of…….so I’m going to ignore him and get in the car. Thank you Penelope!

    I love you Penelope.

  19. cindy
    cindy says:

    …..just got a new client after I hit “send”!!!! Yeah!!! My one start up has taken off so quickly w/ almost no plan in place at all, that I thought if I did an actual business plan it would grow with some direction rather than as a wild weed taking over my life!!!!

  20. Alana Deibel
    Alana Deibel says:

    “live video chat” – €“seems to say it all. It’s live. It’s on video. Chat implies informal and less structured than a seminar (on the web). I have not had the opportunity to attend your live video chats because they are in the middle of the day, but if I could I would.

    If we’re stuck with the ugly and pitiable word “blog,” we might as well abandon all hope for a beautiful language and use “webinar” too, until something elegant comes along.

    we have good alternatives. Live Web Chat, Live Video Conference, You ‘n’Me, on the TV – €“whatever describes the method is OK. Whatever describes the content is better. Feature/Benefit is best.

  21. mamaworker
    mamaworker says:

    I enjoyed logging in and getting some info from you today. Especially liked the tip, don’t worry about other people judging you, just find the people that appreciate your thinking and go there. (We 30-something women do that all the time). I’m going to go find my specialty – I have a plan to use my writing skills in a paralegal program – hopefully they won’t outsource my job before I get it :)

  22. john
    john says:

    P,
    Hate the word webinar. It’s a live video chat, so why not call it an L.V.C. for short? We should be careful of the words we “invent” as we are often stuck with them.
    I would enjoy listening to your chats if you taped them. I have trouble being online when you have them.
    Thanks,
    jb

  23. neko
    neko says:

    @ In Thailand –

    I second the previous request for some overachiever reader who actually views PT’s “online presentation” [replace with preferred term here] to jot down notes for review by the rest of us who are sleeping/working/not able to participate!

    (Come on, you INTJs out there: we’re waiting ….)

  24. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    I know what you mean with the word, Webinar. It’s just a weird sounding word, and not pretty, like “Blog.” I always thought a blog was something that came out the body when you needed privacy to do it. And so, when I think of Penelope Trunk blogging at work, I imagine her going into the ladies room, closing herself into a toilet stall, and thinking hard until it comes out. And then of course, you have to look at it, just to make sure it’s exactly what you wanted to come out. And then, you flush it into the web, which is another funny word.

    So now I understand that blog is short for “weblog,” which makes much more sense and doesn’t sound like something that makes a noise. So my suggestion: When you finally get to changing the name of this BLOG, call it: Penelope Trunk’s Daily Log for the World Wide Web. And then I won’t be so embarrassed, on your behalf, imagining you writing it.

  25. Amy L
    Amy L says:

    I’m surprised the chats aren’t recorded and archived already. It seems like such an obviously needful thing to do and requires so little effort.

  26. Nelson Nephew
    Nelson Nephew says:

    I mean it was like what a cheap copy of the word ‘seminar’. But as time goes by it kind of grows on you. But then again so can other new words. Give it some time there will be more buzz words being bandied about like willful teens dubbing their new hobby “skateboarding extreme” etc.

    And so, when I think of Penelope Trunk blogging at work, I imagine her going into the ladies room, closing herself into a toilet stall, and thinking hard until it comes out. And then of course, you have to look at it, just to make sure it’s exactly what you wanted to come out. And then, you flush it into the web, which is another funny word.

  27. Smith+Fritzy
    Smith+Fritzy says:

    I was giving Paugh a hard time about using “webinar” for your show. For me, it just sounds so sterile and I just didn’t think it accurately described it. I agree with some of the others above, Video Chat or Discussion, that better describes it. My suggestion is to just call it a show. “The PT Hour” Title it, brand it, name it something that SOUNDS like something… use that other stuff for a nice subhead.

  28. Rafe Miller
    Rafe Miller says:

    Webinar sounds not too interactive for me. I suddenly imagined the kind of seminars that are boring. If you say live video chat, it sounds a bit personal and more interactive. I was not able to attend your webinar or live video chat though. I hope someone can share their notes or it would be great if you have a recording or something… Thanks!

  29. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    I hate, HATE the word webinar, regardless of its place on the jargon greyscale. HATE. IT. Maybe you could say ‘online seminar’? That would be terrific. I’m also a proponent of more specific terms or phrases than ‘workout’ & its variations. I recommend you always use language that is most comfortable and right for you, that feels and sounds most like yourself when you say it, and weigh new language carefully before you start using it. Take all kinds of context & variations in meaning into consideration, feel out whether you like it, give a few trials. Good luck. :-)

  30. James
    James says:

    I personally don’t mind the word webinar, it makes it sound more formal.
    I’m looking forward to it, i just hope i can get my speakers working.

  31. Johnnyq
    Johnnyq says:

    You know, some might say that it’s the brave that ford the way for mainstream acceptance of jargony lingo. I personally like to wear those phrases proudly on my sleeve like I own them. It usually works and no one questions me. Go figure?

  32. Dina
    Dina says:

    I totally disagree with Marke341. Webinar is a great word because it describes EXACTLY what it is. There are too many things out there with totally bizarre unmemorable names, and I’m just glad this one makes sense.

  33. Daniel N. Brown
    Daniel N. Brown says:

    Love what you said about knowing what to do is not the hard part of finding fulfillment… it’s doing it that’s the hard part. So true! Most people know “what” to do, they just don’t have the discipline to do it.

  34. Jon Fruge
    Jon Fruge says:

    I don’t think it matters whether you call it a webinar or an online seminar. It matters if the content of that seminar is useful and presented in an interesting way.

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  37. AMN
    AMN says:

    Just wait! The trouble with the word is only beginning. I saw a poster last week that contained a collection of characters (can’t bear to call it a word) that read, WEB-N-R. As if “webinar” isn’t adequately forced and abbreviated.

  38. Penelope Clear
    Penelope Clear says:

    Especially liked the tip, don’t worry about other people judging you, just find the people that appreciate your thinking and go there. (We 30-something women do that all the time). I’m going to go find my specialty – €“ I have a plan to use my writing skills in a paralegal program – €“ hopefully they won’t outsource my job before I get it :)

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    Alva Giesing says:

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