What is Kudos and why are we giving it to each other?


This week I got a notification on LinkedIn asking me to “Take a moment to recognize 4 years of being connected to your coworker” and had a call-to-action button labeled “Give Kudos.” 

So I of course screenshotted it and ironically texted it to my coworker and said “Taking a moment” with a screenshot and then included a photo of a box of Kudos-brand granola bars. As one does.

But from there, the conversation devolved into our memories of Kudos granola bars. I’m pretty sure I have eaten a Kudos. A kudo? Is there a singular Kud? It’s basically a Seinfeld joke, right? 

But ‘Give Kudos’ is a primary CTA for LinkedIn, and that bothered me. So it sent me down a late night rabbit hole into the history of kudos before I go giving them to people irresponsibly. This isn’t a “Like,” after all. It’s a Kudos.

Kudos is a noun. And a singular one at that. Turns out a “kudo” is a false singular since kudos comes from Greek (therefore the “s” doesn’t make it plural). Of course, even that assertion is contentious as our language evolves. But if you think of kudos like we use the words ethos, bathos, or hubris – it’s basically the same thing. 

Anyway, kudos means “praise given for achievement,” and Time Magazine is credited with bringing kudos to the U.S. (as well as the words tycoon, pundit, and socialite). 

The granola bar of the same name launched in 1986 and was officially killed via a Facebook post in 2017. Its slogan was “Kudos, I’m yours!” with a 30-second jingle that persisted for years. The song is a Randy Newman-meets-Billy Joel-meets-unhealthy granola bar-positioned that it will help-you-be-healthy-and-athletic kind of a situation that any kid who watched as much TV as I did in the late 80s and early 90s surely will recall and probably believed.

There’s a lot of speculation about why Mars killed the Kudos brand. Healthy eating movements can be hard on snack food brands. Delish said it’s “The Most Upsetting Loss Of Our Generation.” I remember it as an okay chocolate granola bar we didn’t buy often. But regardless, the marketing nostalgia is soaked deep into my brain wrinkles when I hear the word “Kudos.” 

LinkedIn’s ‘Give Kudos’ prompt was introduced in 2018, positioned as “a fun and easy way to share your appreciation for people in your professional community.” So fun!

You can show your appreciation to colleagues or people that you’ve worked with by sending them a Kudos on LinkedIn. Kudos is a fun and easy way to recognize an individual or a group of members by mentioning to your connections or the public how they’ve excelled. You can send Kudos only to LinkedIn members that you’re connected to.

Note: Kudos can be sent thrice a week.

Bold use of “thrice” there, LinkedIn. Especially since this product has been out three years (thrice years?), and I’ve never noticed it nor received kudos myself. Thanks a lot, readers.

So now that I’ve noticed the “Give Kudos” button and understand its background, I like to think that I would “Give Kudos” to someone by dressing up as a Greek God and bestowing honor to someone who has earned it via a wreath headdress when I push that button on my phone. I just need to buy a bedsheet first. And maybe some granola bars. -G.

Oh hey, Digital Summit is coming up NEXT WEEK. It’s a two-day, in-person, conference and networking experience that’s a pretty good price considering they let people like me speak there. If you’re attending, be sure to say HI.

Here’s what else I’m tracking this week…

Snapchat Maps screenshots, including businesses and social context

Snapchat Maps Go Social: Remember Foursquare? The social nature of location-based discovery, serendipity, and connection is still a valuable feature, but “check-ins” have faded in popularity on Swarm, Facebook, and the like. But meanwhile, more than 250 million people use Snapchat’s built-in map to see where their friends are in the world, and now Snap is adding a feature to surface popular places it thinks all those users may want to visit.

The “Popular” tab at the bottom center of the Snap Map will show recommendations for places to go based on factors like your current location, friend activity on the map, and the kind of places you’ve saved as favorites. Seeing friends on a map alongside info about businesses is also a relatively unique feature that Facebook hasn’t managed to copy. Snap recently reported that is has 293 million daily users, making its user base about 42 percent larger than Twitter’s.

Facebook’s Metaverse Team is Hiring: Facebook will create a metaverse product team headed by Instagram’s VP of product. The move follows Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook would transition from social media platform to a metaverse company in 5-10 years and as Roblox and Fortnight are also working on building out their own more comprehensive metaverse offerings. Zuck imagines an open, broadly distributed, 3D dimension online where we will all conduct much of our work and personal lives. Facebook is currently hiring 700+ roles for the team, and this is a significant signal about where the future of XR is headed. Imagine reading this email via VR with your digital avatar while “at work” in the future. Magical!

Why Do Millennials Love Dogs So Much? Millennials recently overtook Baby Boomers as the largest pet-owning cohort of Americans; by some estimates, more than half of them have a dog. Whether as a companion, a class marker, a signal of stability, or an effective therapy for stress, dogs serve a lot of purpose for their human partners. 

Key quote from The Atlantic: “People without kids adopt pets not only as a dry run for eventual children but for lots of other reasons, too, including, as an outlet for caring impulses that have nothing to do with parenthood. They also lavish their dogs with privileges that, in America, have historically been reserved for other people: Dogs now sleep in the same bed as their humans at night; they have birthday parties; they go see their friends at day care.” 

And you know what’s better than owning a dog? Watching dogs on social media. #DogsOfTikTok has 78B views. #DogsOfInstagram has 248M posts. If you’re online and anywhere near a millennial in age, the odds are high you watched a dog video in the last week. Here are the ones I received just this week. Woof.

Business Reads of the Week: 1) How Black Creators Are Taking Their Power Back And Pushing For Protection; 2) 8 Tips for How Amazon Writes; 3) Weber Shandwick’s Return to Office Playbook; 4) A Better Approach to Group Editing; 5) Brands Are Bringing Gaming and Esports In-House; 6) TikTok is Betting on the Future of Video Resumes.Greg Swan @gregswanTWO WORDS: Roomba Dress July 24th 20213 Likes

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