Wednesday, April 2, 2008

MT Writng?

A marketing peer once told me my blog was too well written (!) -- as in seeming too well-crafted vs. the more stream-of-consciousness style typical of the genre. I can understand this, but that happens to be how my writing gene manifests itself; even my emails to pals get infused with, well, "turns of phrases." (Ugh! Listen to me!) Anyway, numbers and math are not my friends, but I did start my career as a journalist and copywriter.

When I got my first Treo, my drug of choice in the PDA arena, I tried obsessively to correct thumb-driven typos. Then I received a message launched from a friend's Blackberry that included the line, "Sent from my Blackberry, if typos." I loved that! I quickly modified that line for my Treo sign-offs and exhaled in relief: there was nothing worse for an anal English major than replying to a client and belatedly seeing tons of unintentional errors.

Then I got a new device which is more of a pocket PC, whatever the heck that means. I'm still trying to figure it out, but it has this bigger keyboard and can actually let me create Word documents. I feel like I have less of an excuse for typos, but also haven't figured out how to insert a custom excuse in the signature line yet either. ("Sorry for typos. Can't figure out how the heck to type on this VX6800 thing.")

Anyway, at a recent seminar for business owners, a speaker admonished the audience, saying that while it's great to be able to respond to issues in email from almost anywhere at almost any time, putting your best brand forward requires that you take the time to write cleanly and professionally and NOT ask forgiveness for typos even from a PDA! I have to agree.

Your friends will forgive you. Your clients may judge you.

The trouble with txting and PDAs is that they go hand in shrthnd with poor writing skills these days. We get so used to dashing off quick messages, expecting that we'll be forgiven our typos in deference to expedience, that we are losing the QC (quality control, that is) that should go in to professional correspondence at the very least.

This really struck me when I was browsing some Q&As on the Web site of a professional trade publication. Kind of like in LinkedIn, people often ask or answer questions on forums like these as a form of network self-promotion. So why, for pete's sake, would someone clearly not make ANY effort to look smarter and professional?

Check out these verbatim (except for deleting identifying names, since I can't believe they want THIS kind of PR) questions, posed to a promotion marketing expert:

do the people at dr. pepper believe in marketing the product in area;s other than sports events .. the goal in marketing is to associate and familiarize one with the beverage..there are certain ways to associate the product with movement as in action the primciple tool for promotion. there are techniques for specific economies

Here is the very next question (yes, question, but neither had a "?") posted by someone else:

I don’t know where to go with a fan appreciation series if competition events that tie in witjh the sport and sponsor. It is a vehicle that can be on tv, sota like a reality sow, but note extreme as whats on tv now.

Could be there were typos or poor grammar in this post. If so, sorry. Only my sister -- an expert copy-editor -- will probably know (or say so.) But as to the above examples, that were signed by the submitters? All I have to say is: OMG.

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