Monday, September 16, 2013

Great Writing in the Wild

I'm collecting specimens of exceptional text, sentences and paragraphs that are great examples of clear messaging, adding my specialized marketing psychology commentary, and putting them into a book called "Great Writing in the Wild."

As a web content developer, I pay close attention to how language and design are used, words and images, in all contexts and environments. It's all content. The content on a website needs to communicate as effectively as a simple cardboard box in the garage.

From a deconstruction viewpoint, I'll point out what seems to pointedly leap up and out, like a too loud vocal "escaping" from the mix of a song, dominating by shooting up above the sound, so that vocal track has to be mixed down, reduced in volume, to contain it more securely and seamlessly in the mix of all the other sounds.

"How to Use Box Handles" is the first entry in this exciting new compilation. Obviously, it's an attempt to clearly communicate an action to a person who is unfamiliar with how to interact with a cardboard box.

Real world vs. Digital realm.

You can get away with using ALL CAPS in the real world. It's how IMPORTANT messages and vital WARNINGS are conveyed. Often government statements are in ALL CAPS. In the real world, you can SHOUT IN ALL CAPS and people are okay with it.

But TYPOS are strictly prohibited in the real world, as they make a person seem uneducated and spelling really is a school subject, not a program called spell check.

Lest we get too self-righteous about the superiority of the real world communications, notice that headlines are played loosey-goosey.

The headline promises to teach how to USE box handles, but the step by step directions are on how to CREATE a box handle, leaving you completely in the dark as to what to do next, after they're created.

So it qualifies as "great writing in the wild" if you overlook the fact that it delivers something other than what it said it was going to deliver.

I especially enjoy this jarring declaration:

3. Pull the long ways like zipping a zipper (2)

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