Slap My Words Up: Language in the Digital World


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If technology is a pimp, our language is its favorite bitch. The tricks that our words are asked to turn on the streets of social media and online publishing are lauded in our dictionaries and style guides. Googling and unfriending are verbs, no one knows what to do with a semicolon, and maybe it doesn’t matter. Soon we’ll be talking to our computers instead of typing on them. Will we have to speak our punctuation question mark Or will we do without? Regardless of where we’re headed, many readers still think less of you and your brand when they think they see an error. This is especially true in campaign messaging but perhaps less so in off-the-cuff, character-restricted social media bursts. The members of this panel think about this every day and are paid to care because we write for brands who do (most of the time). But some of us are left wondering if this pimp is on to something. Like Anne Trubek said in Wired, maybe its thyme to let luce. The Johns—readers—like what they see.

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Slap My Words Up: Language in the Digital World

  1. 1. SLAP MY WORDS UP LANGUAGE IN THE digital world #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  2. 2. THE players Gail Marie Kristina Eastham Content Editor, McKinney Communications Manager, Digitaria @GMarieThatsMe @kreastham Neal Ungerleider Sean Carton Reporter, Fast Company Director of the Center for Digital Communication, @nealunger Commerce, and Culture at The University of Baltimore @ubcd3c #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  3. 3. DOES IT MATTER? TYPO VS ERROR #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  4. 4. DOES IT MATTER? #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  5. 5. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  6. 6. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  7. 7. Monday, March 11, 13
  8. 8. EMAIL WAS ONCE HYPHENATED? “TECH”-DRIVEN language #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  9. 9. AND ACCORDING TO MERRIAM-WEBSTER, IT STILL IS: #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  10. 10. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  11. 11. RELAXING social media IS LAZY? THE RELAXED VOICE IN #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  12. 12. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  13. 13. AMATEURS ARE OFF THE HOOK? WILD WEST OF the internet #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  14. 14. AMATEURS ARE OFF THE HOOK? “ ...Deviate too far from the ‘who died and made you “ king’ rules, and your writing will look ignorant and amateurish. Deviate from the descriptive [‘but everyone’s doing it’] rules and youre no longer writing English. But deviate from the aesthetic rules, and you end up either with a mess or with a masterpiece. – Dr. Joel Hoffman #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  15. 15. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  16. 16. GRAMMAR IS FLUID? #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  17. 17. GRAMMAR IS FLUID? “ “ Its important for students to learn Standard English. Theres really no excuse for not teaching anybody in society what the code is that is considered socially acceptable. – John McWhorter, Linguist #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  18. 18. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  19. 19. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  20. 20. ORAL IS BACK? DIGITAL WRITING CLOSER TO SPEECH #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  21. 21. ORAL IS BACK? “ “ Just as Socrates was concerned that the invention of writing would make people forgetful, people today are worried about the degree to which we are permanently shaped by digital technologies. –Paulien Dresscher in “Pancake,” in I Read Where I Am #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  22. 22. #writeway shorter IS BETTER (OR AT LEAST OK)Monday, March 11, 13
  23. 23. SHORTER IS BETTER “ The growth of blogs, Twitter, and Facebook considered in tandem with Tumblr and other social softwares that enable posting and tagging accounts, creates an environment of continuous partial production. …What does become problematic is when the new affordances make the old “ content untenable in the emerging environments. - Peter Lunenfeld, "The Networked Culture Machine" in I Read Where I Am. #writewayMonday, March 11, 13
  24. 24. FEEDBACK? HTTP://SXSW.TV/CGX #writewayMonday, March 11, 13