Does Language Matter?

Pumped Love Dude AwesomeIf you spend any amount of time with me (online or face-to-face), you’ll quickly realize that I pretty much have 4 go-to words.


I use them all the time. I mean…really a ton.

Do Words Define You?

I wouldn’t call any of these 4 words professional. I wouldn’t say that they make me sound more intelligent or more mature or more sophisticated – probably just the opposite. If we are thinking about these words in terms of decades, “Pumped” and “Awesome” are from the 80s; “Love” is 60s and 70s; and “Dude” is 90s – or something like that.

So do these words define who I am as a person? I’d say yes.

Pumped: I get fired up about a lot of things. I have a ton of energy and am always trying to get others around me to share in some of that passion and excitement. A recent IM exchange with Teresa Basich, confirms this:

djwaldow: i LOVE that 2 of my twitter friends are chatting
djwaldow: LOVE
Teresa Basich: honestly, the amount of enthusiasm you have for…anything, really, completely amazes me.

Awesome: When I see something I like, something that gets me jazzed (or pumped), the first word out of my mouth is awesome. The word awesome is a mash-up of cool, radical, and sweet. It fits so many occasions. For example, this post is quickly becoming awesome.

Love: As I often say, I love a lot of things. I love a lot of people. I’m not “in love” with things and people as that is reserved for my wife, the K-Dawg. Yet, I truly love it when someone is successful, when they are happy, when they get pumped, when they do something awesome. I love it.

Dude: I use the word dude all the time. In fact, it may be my favorite word of all time. I’ve actually proclaimed entire days as “Dude Day” where I encourage others to use it in every exchange throughout the day. I’ve had debates with people about whether women are dudes (or dudettes). I start most IM conversations and many tweets with “Dude.”

Why do I love this awesome word and get pumped by it? (nice sentence, huh?) Dude is one of the most versatile words in the entire universe. It can be used to say hello: Dude; to start a conversation: Dude; to pose a question: Dude?; or to say goodbye: Later, Dude. Pretty powerful.

Back To Being Professional

Does it matter? I’m an adult (33 years old). I have a real job. I’m married, have a baby girl on the way, own a house, and have 3 cats and a dog. Am I too old to be using these “juvenile” words? Do they make me sound less professional? Do people take me less serious because I say pumped, awesome, love and dude? I’m not sure. Part of me doesn’t really care. Why? Because it is who I am. I think words do define you. They make you human. They make you a real person with real blood running through your veins.

I like what Amber Naslund says in her post, “Talk Like We Do.”

Hey, it could be worse. What if my 4 words were can’t, won’t, don’t, and no? Think about it.

In Your Words

What words do you find yourself using a lot? Are they positive, happy, upbeat words or dull, boring and/or negative words? Take a moment to reflect. Then share your words below (Please).

DJ Waldow

BJ Cook
BJ Cook

When I first read this on Twitter, I figured it was a shortened URL taking me to some type of Natural Language Processing web app that would let me know what were my most popular words within my tweets, then I realized it was way better. In a way our language defines a couple things like personality, geography (ie/ Boston folks like their "wicked") and sometimes social circle/environment (ie/ surfing/volleyball in SoCal = "bro" "dude"). I've found that I'm using:
- totally
- kewl
- cheers/thanks (I feel like the "cheers" has been adopted with many UK folk interactions)
-  awesome
- seriously
- dude

So I guess I fall into the same demo as you too (31, male, 3 kids, 2 cats, 12 fish and 1 snail)

A refreshing post and good break from all the social media rah rah out there.

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

@Arina: Great point about "energy and enthusiasm." I could not agree more. As far as fillers like "um"... I took a presentation class in college where the entire class clapped (out loud) when anyone said uh, um, ah. After about the 5th clap, presenters actually stopped before they used one of those words. Really taught everyone to think before they used the "crutch" word. Pretty cool...

DJ [email protected]


I don't think it's the words, so much as the genuine energy and enthusiasm behind them. If you weren't being real, then it wouldn't matter what the words were, it'd be irritating.

(Although, a "word" that I despise is "um"....but that's more used as a verbal crutch than as a real word. Amazing how many people don't realize that they're filling silence with "um" while they're talking.)

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

Wow. Thanks again for all of the comments. They make me smile.

@Courtenay: Ha. Not sure about the age thing, but I'll take it. Thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Vegas.

@Teresa: Late is always better then never, right? (assuming you have something good to add...which you always do!). Agree that you have to be "you" whatever that means. See you in Chicago in a few weeks. PUMPED!

@Tom: Thanks for your comments. Great to have you stop by. Thanks for your encouragement. It's what keeps me blogging...I also love the addition of "thanks" and "perfect." Great contributions.

@Brian: Ha ha. I'm trying to get my wife to use "Dude" a bit more. It's just not her word, though. Glad that Valeria (Conversation Agent) could connect us. She's a cool chick. Just met last week.

@Michelle: Nice to meet you at Boston for IMS! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving your thoughts. "Woo-hoo" - not sure I recall you using that word, but I like it. I'll start paying attention to it more now.

@Jeff: That is awesome, dude. Probably should have been included in my post. See you in Durham in a few weeks.

DJ [email protected]

Michelle Bennett
Michelle Bennett


I know I'm late to the game in commenting but I just realized as I was typing an e-mail to a friend that I have at least two go-to words, and I just had to drop a note. :)

I am also a big fan of "dude" for many of the reasons stated above but perhaps "woo-hoo" is my main word. Sometimes I vary it and use "wahoo". Is it bad that my father-in-law told his daughter she couldn't use the phrase because I'd trademarked it? :) But I have to clarify - I'm not so much a HIMYM "woo girl"'s less of an unnecessary scream and more of a genuine reaction to awesomness. Kind of the same thing as doing a little dance when things are good.

I find that words enter my vocabulary and then fade away over time and get replaced. Generally, though, they are all words of celebration for fun, happiness and good times. I agree with your post - your words say a lot about your personality because they show what you focus your energy on.

.-= Michelle Bennett´s last blog ..Do You Set the Standard? Or Meet It? =-.

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

Dude. My wife and I totally use "dude" with reckless abandon. It's just that versatile.

Don't know if I've got any other go-to words, but this post will certainly get me thinking along those lines. I've been wanting to work on my writing (I tend to be wordy), so listening to what I say is a good start.

Found you on today. Subscribed.
.-= Brian Driggs´s last blog ..Prescott Flatbed Adventures 2009 =-.

Tom MacDonald
Tom MacDonald

Words shape who we are and convey the type of person we want to be perceived as. I Love the words you use! It is Awesome to see another person who speaks to me on my level and it gets me pumped to hear what you may say/post next. I look forward to following you Dude.
My Personal Words:

Teresa Basich
Teresa Basich

Late to the party! Language plays a big part in the way people perceive us. As much as I teased you in that conversation about your enthusiasm, that energy you have and the language you use to display it is often what I need to toss me back into the game.

I'm often told I talk too big or too eloquently and I used to hate it. But, you know, why hate something so close to you? Yeah, I guess I could change it, but I think that'd feel a lot like wearing clothes that aren't yours -- it just wouldn't feel comfortable or good.

And, dude, we can't be havin' that!
.-= Teresa Basich´s last blog ..The Difference Between “Like”, “Respect” and “Value” =-.


Last I heard, 40 is the new 30, 30 the new 20... so I think you're fine to continue using "juvenile" language for another decade. In fact, keep it up -- clearly it's very endearing to your friends and readers!

DJ Waldow
DJ Waldow

@Jason: Love your 3 words - especially 'absolutely' and 'thanks' ...groovy is well groovy too. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing. (Ha ha - just realized I used thanks!)

@Adam: I love that 'love it' has rubbed off on you...classic.

@Maddy: Yeah. Can't wait for Baby Waldow to start using the words that K-Dawg and I do. Can't. Wait. Thanks for sharing your words too - energized & re-energized. Both great ones. Cool *is* cool. Another one of my favorites. That's an 80s word along with awesome and rad, right?

@Christina: Great reminder about "the meaning of 'professional' changes by profession." I guess I work in an environment where I can be a bit more loose with my language. Either way, I think people tend to be a bit too worried about not being themselves when it comes to language. I'd love to here your 3 favorite words used in a sentence. Not in one big sentence, but...

Thanks again to all for reading and commenting. You're the best! Makes it all worth it.

DJ [email protected]

.-= DJ Waldow´s last blog ..Does Language Matter? =-.


This post is great, but one thing to remember: the meaning of "professional" changes by profession. You work in an environment where expressing energy and excitement are critical traits to success (making those words professional). A lawyer, however, would rightly shy away from using "pumped" and "dude" in the courtroom. ;-)

The words I use most?

- Fabulous!
- Yes!
- Almost...

They work for me AND my profession. :-)
.-= Christina´s last blog ..The Power Of Hair =-.

Maddy Hubbard
Maddy Hubbard

Dude. I IM and tweet with you enough that you know I am a big fan of the words "dude" and "awesome". I don't think these words are unprofessional or that there is anything wrong with them at all. The fun will come when Baby Waldow saarts "dude-ing" people, and it will happen! My kids have grown up saying dude and the first time they said it I thought it was funny, and now we don't think anything of it.

Another word that I like and have used more lately is: energized. Getting energized, being re-energized....

And of course, I still use the word cool. Is that cool? Or is that uncool of me to use cool?

Adam Covati
Adam Covati

Love it man. Keep the energy coming, it was always inspirational at Bronto. It's part of what makes you a fantastic person to work with or hang out around.

BTW, your "love it" has rubbed off on me.
.-= Adam Covati´s last blog ..Twitter is a fad. Twitter is useless. Twitter provides no value. =-.

Jason Peck
Jason Peck

Nice words, DUDE! haha.

I'm a big fan of awesome, as well. Some others:
-Absolutely !(not just a yes, a definite yes, when asked if I can do something and I definitely can)
-Thanks! - always important to thank people-can't thank people too much.
-Groovy - just a random word I use sometime after someone tells me what they're doing and it sounds cool.
.-= Jason Peck´s last blog ..Interview With FanFeedr Founder Ty Ahmad-Taylor =-.