Blog in 09 2012.
Spam is a funny thing.
We get thousands of comments on the blog, only a fraction of which are real (93 per cent are about Viagra). The rest are spam. And while a lot of them are nonsense, some of them are almost believable.
Here are a few of the different types of spam:
The cryptic ones
The English are a nation of ship keepers.
The backhanded compliment ones
I haven't checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess Iˇll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it friend
The I-hope-this-is-a-real-person ones
Wonderful points altogether, you simply won a new reader. What may you suggest about your post that you simply made some days ago? Any certain?
The polite, but straight to the point ones
This is very useful info. Thanks for writing it. My site Viagra
The slightly scary ones
I LOVE YOU MORE TODAY THAN I DID YESTERDAY, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I WILL TOMORROW
The ‘I’ve just invented a new word and want to share it with the world’ ones
fphzsjcume That’s a nice post. fphzsjcume
And the ones I really want to approve even though I know they’re fake
Major thankies for the blog article. Really looking forward to read more. Cool.
There you have it – a brief insight into the world of blog moderator.
I’m a big fan of zenpencils.com. It’s a site by an Australian cartoonist who turns great quotes into great comics – for free. You can also submit your own quotes and the owner Gavin might illustrate them (you can buy his cartoons as prints as well). There are some quotes on there which are inspiring for any craftsperson or artist. But I’d like to submit some really good ones about writing.
To give you a taste (and to kick off your day in an inspiring way), here are some cartoons I like very much.
On work and art
A bit of philosophy
And these are just generally inspiring
What are your favourite quotes?
How do you write about big, complex global issues for a child? Some people think you can’t, or that, if you do, you need to dumb things down. We disagree. We think writing for a child is pretty similar to writing for an adult. And recently we got to put our thinking to the test when we did some work for children’s charity The Economist Foundation*.
So what are the challenges of writing for a younger audience? The Foundation worked with teachers to try and suss them out – here are their five tips.
1. Start at the start
Don’t assume any prior knowledge. Why should kids know about the origins of a conflict that’s been going for 30 years?
2. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes
What will they be able to relate to? Other kids. So talk about their experiences whenever you can.
3. Tell them a story
Cold, hard facts are difficult to absorb. Never assume that someone will think a stat is interesting without the context.
4. Keep things simple
One idea per sentence will do. And mix up your sentence lengths.
5. Don’t dumb down your words
People need to hear long words to learn them, just not too many in one sentence. That’s confusing.
*The Economist Foundation is a charity closing the opportunity gap for the young and disadvantaged. They help young people find a voice by giving them the information The Economist readers get in a language they can understand. They’re creating a digital library of articles, videos and infographics for teachers to use in classes and after-school clubs.
We’ve been helping them explain who they are and what they do, as well as helping them adapt their style for a younger audience.
Is it ideas?
Or is it inventions?
It pops up on just about every big business’ website.
The problem is that it’s one of those words you can use when you don’t know what you want to say. And if you don’t know what you want to say, your reader won’t either.
So if you ever find yourself wanting to use it, here are your options:
If you’re writing about people using their brains, go with idea. It conjures an image of people thinking in a way innovation doesn’t.
If you’re talking about something more tangible, the idea made real, then just say what it is. Or at least use a more specific word than innovation, like product or, if you can get away with it, invention.
If you feel like you can’t do either of those things, I guarantee you’re not making a clear point.
Your out of office message is a really good opportunity to engage with your clients or customers and show a bit of personality. But it’s so often wasted.
Phrases like ‘annual leave’ and ‘I’ll respond to your message upon my return’ are boring, sterile and overused. Why not say you’re on holiday and you’ll give them a call when you get back? It’s much friendlier.
As well as all the nuts and bolts info, like who to call while you’re away, why not tell your readers a bit about where you’re off to?
Our Neil and Anelia like to include interesting facts about the places they’re visiting. The other day Anelia spent the morning at a meeting in the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell*. And Neil spent a few days looking out of his window at the tallest building in the world**.
Or you could tell them what you’re up to. Last week our Emma was doing one of the five most stressful things in the world ever – moving house. And Natasha was testing her rusty Spanish skills to the limit in Mallorca.
So give it a try next time you need to write an out of office message. Think of it like writing a postcard before you’ve even left.
**The Burj Khalifa in Dubai.