Zoom made a big deal of the fact that, on one day last month, the company had 300 million daily users. That, as I'm sure we can all agree, is an extraordinary number of people holding meetings, visiting with friends, attending school, teaching dance lessons, and staying connected remotely.
Despite the large number, it isn't even that hard to believe. I've even quoted the statistic several times as I've written about Zoom over the past few weeks. At a time when most of us are being asked not to leave our homes unless absolutely necessary, that huge number was the perfect representation of how much of a role technology plays in our lives.
Except, it wasn't true.
It turns out that Zoom meant to say that it had 300 million participants, meaning, users who signed on to a videoconference--with many of them signing on more than one time. On an average day, I sign on to four or five Zoom meetings. That's a very different measurement of your business.
As The Verge, who first noticed that Zoom had changed its blog post mentioning the statistic, points out:
The difference between a daily active user (DAU) and "meeting participant" is significant. Daily meeting participants can be counted multiple times: if you have five Zoom meetings in a day then you're counted five times. A DAU is counted once per day, and is commonly used by companies to measure service usage. Only counting meeting participants is an easy, somewhat misleading, way to make your platform usage seem larger than it is.
Look, I get it--that might seem like a small difference. But it wasn't just a math problem. It wasn't that the company simply miscounted. Instead, it misstated the significance of the number it was presenting, which communicated something about the company that simply wasn't true.
The reality is that words matter. You probably already know this by now, but the words you use to describe your business make a huge difference in the way people perceive it, and they define your brand.
For Zoom, it's an even bigger deal considering the scrutiny the company has been under as a result of a several privacy and security flaws. Users flocked to the easy-to-use videoconferencing service over the past two months as Zoom quickly became one of the most important tools to help us stay connected.
So, you'd think that a company like Zoom, knowing how bright a spotlight is being shone upon it right now, would take extra care to be precise with its words. Actually, despite the criticism and scrutiny, every company should take note that what you say matters--now more than ever.
The bottom line is this: The little things matter when it comes to building trust, which--for Zoom and every company--is everything right now.