Long before the internet took off as an entire sector of the economy and there was even a degree-worthy discipline called “User Experience,” I built a few foundational skills for a career in digital strategy working for a phone sex line.Laid off from my job as a copywriter at a large Madison Avenue advertising agency, I nabbed a freelance gig with a hot creative boutique.
What I learned has stayed with me twenty-five years later, into a modern era of Madison Avenue and Ashley Madison: My advertising headlines were snappy but they’re not how people talk.
Here, like today’s Siri, Cortana and other bots still emerging, the voice has to feel real even if you know it wasn’t.
At first, I gave the chat rooms campy names such as “Butterfield-8” to evoke Elizabeth Taylor and “South Fork” and “Alexis’s Bathtub,” nods to soap opera fans.
The agency thought the names were hilarious, but the client sent me back to the drawing board after sharing the ideas with customers, who all said the names of the rooms killed the mood and seemed created for someone else.
And even if you don’t find a potential partner, you might end up making great friends with other people who are in the same boat as you.