The dilemma of social media

David Esrati at the Next Wave is a big proponent of companies’ participating actively in social media — having blogs on their websites, for example, as a way of increasing their site content and therefore the value of their site, and the amount of traffic the site brings in. Here are some excerpts from a comment I wrote in response …

Rampant Creativy 1: Peeps Diorama

In this periodic series of posts, the writers and editors here at Dragonfly bow their heads in honor of our wonderful designers — and the rampant creativity that inspires them. Ye who call yourself creative, bow down before the regular Joes (and designers) who submitted entries to the Washington Post‘s first-ever Peeps Diorama Contest. View the slideshow here.

Time to cut out these cliches

Morgana at Best Room in the House forwards to me today a list of some of the world’s most annoying jargon. Maybe you’ve already had it e-mailed to you. If not, here it is, for your reading pleasure. Core of my being — If you run across this in written form, just click the back button or close the book. …

The Power of Storytelling

If you’re a writer, take five minutes today to listen to this discussion by Ira Glass, NPR correspondent and host of my personal favorite radio show of all time, This American Life. Glass discusses the power of storytelling in capturing peoples’ interest — even in fairly boring material. Publications coach Daphne Gray-Grant, in her weekly newsletter, Power Writing, summarizes Glass’s …

4 reasons proposals fail

This is for all you proposal writers out there … Ben Yoskovitz at the InstigatorBlog talks about the top 10 reasons why proposals fail. A few of his most important points: They don’t reference the prospect’s pain. Why did the prospect ask you for a proposal? You better have a crystal clear answer to that question. Too many proposals don’t …

Let’s end the debate on “since” vs. “because”

QZSue sends this James J. Kilpatrick article on why “since” should not be used to mean “because”: Yes, it is true that every standard dictionary informs us that “since” may be employed in the sense of “because.” I beg you, fergit it! What the usual suspects do not say is that the usage is slovenly, sloppy, careless, unthinking, and likely …

Editing ghost stories? Expect a spooky stylesheet

This post is for all you copyeditors out there who handle mainly scientific and technical material. That’s what I do … except when I’m editing books of ghost stories. Ye whose stylesheets usually contain terms such as BitLocker drive encryption and Inter-site Topology Generation, look thee now with pleasure on highlights from my most recent words list. bloodlust deathbed, deathwatch …

Even the Oxford Dictionary loves Rachael Ray

Oh, for frack’s sake. The Washington Post reports that Rachael Ray’s catchword EVOO — that’s short for extra-virgin olive oil, for those of you not yet in the know — is to be included in the 2007 edition of the Oxford American College Dictionary. How many times do I have to say this, people? Save this shite for the Oxford …

Turning off Autocorrect in Microsoft Word

One problem that can plague writers and editors who handle a technical material is that Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect feature can sometimes “correct” words that you don’t want it to. It’s just another way that Microsoft tries to make life easier for you (I guess), but winds up treating you like a child that doesn’t really know what it needs. To …

Land of Typos, part Jane Eyre

OK, this is a good one … from venerated publisher Oxford University Press. Oxford just published a book called Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: A Casebook. Here’s a description of the book in Oxford’s online “Literature Newsletter”: This book provides a series of essays by Jane Eyre that are lucidly and passionately written, and carefully researched and argued while still being …