Friday, March 4, 2016

Okay OpTics, you win

Not OpTic gaming, but "optics" as a shorthand for public perception. I've been seeing it more frequently but can't think of an already existing alternative from my limited vocabulary. So that automatically makes it better than meme, problematic, and methodology. 

Are there any better candidates for expressing "public perception" than "optics"?

Impression, reaction, or response don't capture the public part of public perception. There are a million or so words in the English language so I'm sure there is a word that does work. Omote might be a good loanword candidate. I'm not really sure why "optics" got me worked up but the whole "how is this going to look to the public?" mentality reeks of the personality ethic Steven Covey taught against. But maybe it's a good shibboleth for PR and PR wannabe types.

My guess is that "optics" will quickly cycle through corporate-speak land and maybe end up dying off in hacky West Wing type smart political dramas.

* Omote does have deeper and complex cultural meanings which aren't reflected in "optics" in the same way that proper etiquette and saving face differ from avoiding gaffes and avoiding scandal.

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