November 28, 2008

Part 1: Is writing important…even if you're not a writer?

A discussion between friends/coworkers sparked this post.
I understand that this may seem skewed because I am a professional writer, but I am the only writer in my family, (and group of friends) so I know where other non-English majors stand. Is it okay to express yourself in a messy way via bad writing? My answer: Nope. Never.
We are English speakers who should know the basics about how to correctly convey messages though writing.

I agree that you don't have to be an English major to be a successful photographer, artist, engineer, business owner, etc. BUT, I do believe that one's writing style represents their work, their persona and general life experience. No matter what the profession or line of work, it is crucial to communicate in an educated and qualified manner. Otherwise, people are unlikely to take you or your work seriously. And when I say "people" in that context, I don't mean everyone--obviously there are some who aren't observant enough to care about the fine print. But the general population (I think we can all agree) doesn't want to pay anyone a big (or small) chunk of change for anything that isn't undoubtedly coming from the best of the best in mint condition. That's why people pay big bucks to have professional resumes created. That's why companies hire writers to post their products online.

Case in point: a tanning salon that posts banners and flyers with typos. All the people running the salon are white, they speak English, and they are obviously from around here. So why the random comma splices and/or lack of apostrophes. Or better yet… Random Capitalization of various words In a regular ol' Sentence.
True--some may not notice these things at all. But what if those who do notice decide to tan somewhere else because of the unprofessional representation of the salon? Even though they have the BEST beds in town, this tanning salon is being ran by people who don't know the difference between you're/your. This has me wondering (as the customer) who came up with the pricing system and why? Were they educated enough to research the quality of these beds and to advertise prices that are reasonable? Maybe those numbers are being pulled out of someone's ass. Who cleans the beds after each customer tans? Are they smart enough to know what chemicals need to be mixed to sanitize the most effectively?
Maybe the person who creates the signs is less educated than the person running the money side of the tanning salon. Either way, it makes me question the credibility of a business. ANY business.

Any company offering service to paying customers should be aware that their literacy level affects clientele's opinions. The instant we see a billboard, blog, banner or website for a company, we begin judging it. That is why there are entire seminars, business classes and degrees in this area--it's called marketing and advertising. Customer perception = success/failure.
--SO glad I vented about that--I'm sure that's not the end of my rant.


Slim said...

The IM and text 'speech' kills me. I read forums from time to time on subjects the interest me, and without fail there is some ass-clown that somehow logged on to his mothers computer when she wasn't looking. Even though the subject matter might be discussed with accuracy it reads as if it was pounded out by someone with Incredible Hulk Fists on. The sad part is, you read that persons profile to see if they have any credibility and they're 36 years old.

You'd think they wouldn't want people thinking they are a vacuous insipid buffoon.

Slim Johnson said...

I think I ended a sentence with a preposition.