Grammar Girl is not where it’s at

An education in linguistics seems very beneficial. I’ve always like the term “language arts.” Guidelines for grammar, and other aspects of the English language, are necessary, especially for copy editors. We can’t all go around making up the rules as we go along! However, the flexibility of these guidelines are also a must. English is, as James pointed out, a crazy language with a lot of turns and twists. Grammar Girl, I think you’ve tried your best to answer all of English’s idiosyncrasies — it’s just not meant to be!

Sesquiotica

One of the problems that I and other linguistically trained, open-minded writers run up against in building an audience is that people really seem to want someone to just tell them “Do this and don’t do that.” And they want nice, simple explanations. So they turn to people like Strunk and White, Lynne Truss, and Mignon Fogarty – the Grammar Girl* – who give them nice, reasonably simple answers and guidelines to live by.

Folks, if you want nice and simple, speak Esperanto. English is fun precisely because it’s, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy. English is not like one of those old ’70s video games with one level of play. English has more variations and levels of play, more nuances and negotiations, more little subtleties and twists and turns, than any computer game anyone’s ever devised. By orders of magnitude.

Yes, there is a…

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Top 10 blogging sins

What a great article from a wonderful copy editor’s blog! I want to produce the best blog possible — it may be the first example of my work seen by potential clients—I’m going to avoid any blogging sins!

next-imageHave you committed any of these ten blogging sins? If so, which ones?

LibroEditing proofreading, editing, transcription, localisation

pens and ink bottleI’ve been talking about why and why not to blog recently. Once you’ve committed to your blog, it can be a bit of a minefield. Here are the top ten blogging sins that I see over and over again, or hear other people complaining about. No one can be expected to know everything straight away, and we’ve probably all made at least one of these mistakes, so hopefully I’ll help you to avoid the big, bad ones with this list.

1. Not having an RSS feed

File:Feed-icon.svg RSS is a way to allow blog reader software to collect your content whenever it’s  updated and send it on to any of their readers who subscribe to your blog This Wikipedia article explains it all and examples of RSS readers include Feedly.

If you look at the top of this blog page, you will see that I have an RSS feed logo…

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Social Media and Technical Communication

Social-Media

Check out this great article on social media and technical communication–the wave of the future. 

How Social Media Changes Technical Communication

So, how has social media changed your technical writing?

Social media amplifies everything. If a company makes a mistake (remember the BP oil spill in 2010?), the social media buzz can be devastating to its image. Conversely, if a company does something great or develops an interesting new product (remember when the IPad made its debut?), the social media buzz can be invaluable. For a technical communicator, social media is one of its biggest challenges. Technical communicators have lost their absurdity and anonymity; their work is no longer seen by only a few users–through social media, the world has become the editor for all technical writers.