Denny’s Daily Zinger: When Supposedly Smart People Send Out Gibberish
For 68 years, I have made my living using the English language.
From 1985 B.I.E. (Before the Internet Era), when prose made sense.
Experienced supervisors existed. Generally, they were older and wiser. They knew their businesses. They knew their customers and prospects.
When a writer went off the rails and produced gobbledygook, it seldom saw print. The reason was financial.
Producing print—whether a letter, special report, instruction booklet, article or anything else aimed at reaching many people—costs money.
For example, the paper, printing and mailing for a simple letter costs roughly 60¢. Send out gibberish and two things happen:
- Money is lost.
- The recipient loses time and loses respect for the sender.
Now Everything Is Free and Nobody Cares
I subscribe to The New York Times. I frequently do research on http://www.nytimes.com.
Suddenly, this weird message appeared:
The website "the New York Times" would
like to send you push notifications in
Don't Allow Allow
I have no idea what the hell is a push notification.
I have never heard of the Notification Center.
Some hotshot Times techie came up with this message, ran it by a techie supervisor—to whom it made good sense—and was told it was okay to run.
Takeaways to Consider
- Before a message goes out to customers or prospects, run it by an experienced and sensitive copywriter or editor.
- Two questions:
—Will it make absolute sense to the reader?
—Might it be considered offensive?
Denny Hatch's new book is "Write Everything Right!"
Denny: Almost through it. Great as always. Question: With any good book, I like to buy a dozen and give to friends and employees. Should I buy direct through you or from Amazon? —Chip Fichtner
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