Jan 22, 2014

Don’t Bore Me With Academia Speak and Your Degree
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New Yorker

 

Warning: this entry may infuriate you.

Perhaps it is just me. I don’t want to work that hard to read something.

Literary works that specialize in academia speak and use words like “aughts” totally make my eyes glaze over.

I like to think I’m a good writer. After all, I’ve been paid professionally for it for over twenty-five years. Of all the publications I’ve written for, including international newspapers and magazines, not one of my editors wanted me to write in academia. Good thing. I can’t. I won’t.

Of course, there is a place for academia speak, and it is in a journal or thesis in university — where students have to write to show professors (not teachers) they know something or professors have to write to prove a theory. There is no other place it should be — unless you are writing solely for the university professor and no one else.

The average reader, like it or not, reads at a grade eight level. Some say grade five, but given the Generation X and Millennial demographics were raised on computers and the Internet, I’ve upped that a couple of grades. If you are a university professor, or someone who is proud of your MBA, you need to dumb down your work if you want the masses to read it.

A friend of mine shared this article from the New Yorker: The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You. Quite frankly, the comma before the You seems awkward, but that’s a topic for another post. I confess I like the title. I opened the link and started to read, but it was the first thing I looked at this morning before I had a second sip of coffee. It looked like gibberish to my fuzzy breakfast brain. But I wanted to give it the time and thought it deserved, especially since I know the writer didn’t just pluck the words out of the air and that it was published in a reputable traditional magazine. So several hours later, fully awake, I tackled it again. There are some interesting points in it, for sure. I don’t agree with the line “Content should have an ethical appeal, an emotional appeal, or a logical appeal.” Because if that is really true, then what does that say about the viral posts I saw this morning of porn star and director Ron Jeremy’s reenactment of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video and a stormtrooper twerking video — which I thought were brilliant. The article was still kind of boring to read for my liking.

I do like a well-written piece of technical writing. For the record, to me, technical writing is not writing code books on software, but rather it reflects the language of each industry. This Sports Illustrated investigative report — as are most of these technical articles on sport — is a well thought out, well researched, and gutsy.

On another literacy scale is the text created by an author of more books than we have in underwear. He writes well, but he writes for the masses. Seth Godin’s blog is a collection of posts about engaging. I admit his style is what I like the best. Whether he writes 100 words or 1,000 words, it’s easy, fun, and it makes me think.

People read the material that best fuels them. It just goes to show you, writing is not simple, but it doesn’t have to be academia.

 

 

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Debbie Elicksen

Social Media, transmedia, media liaison.

Experience in working with high profile celebrities, communications (writing and editing for print, web, and radio), project management, marketing and communications strategy, public relations, content creation, publishing, both sides of media relations.

Communities (active and engaged in with good followings): Stage 32, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Media (in front and behind the microphone): Hangouts on Air, traditional and online radio, physical and online newspapers/magazines, television, webcasts, webinars, public address, speaking and facilitation

I have over 20 years of direct media experience, including working in television and Internet media, print, and radio.

I have been a professional sports writer and covered the National Hockey League for over 20 years for several publications and sports services, including NBCSports.com. I was the first woman to ever headman a football conference in Canada (Prairie Football Conference), was PR Director for the Edmonton Trappers Baseball Club, and was a volunteer media liaison with the Hockey Committee during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.

Over the years, I have worked with and interviewed numerous media and celebrities, such as Stan Fischler (The Hockey Maven), Wayne Gretzky, Jarome Iginla, Mario Lemieux, Marcus Camby, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Kelly Hrudey, The Doobie Brothers, Dante Bichette, to name a few. I have appeared in many local, national, and international media programs, such as The Vicki Gabereau Show, NHL Network, MSG Network, and Sports Channel America, to name a few.

I co-host the Virtual Newsmakers with Cynthia K. Seymour. It is a weekly webcast featuring interesting people who are using innovative ways to bridge traditional and digital communications. Some of our guest include thought leaders in digital media communications, such as Erik Qualman, Chris Brogan, Martin Shervington, Dave Carroll (United Breaks Guitars), Tony Dyson (creator of R2D2), and three-time Olympian Steve Mesler.
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Debbie Elicksen

Social Media, transmedia, media liaison. Experience in working with high profile celebrities, communications (writing and editing for print, web, and radio), project management, marketing and communications strategy, public relations, content creation, publishing, both sides of media relations. Communities (active and engaged in with good followings): Stage 32, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Media (in front and behind the microphone): Hangouts on Air, traditional and online radio, physical and online newspapers/magazines, television, webcasts, webinars, public address, speaking and facilitation I have over 20 years of direct media experience, including working in television and Internet media, print, and radio. I have been a professional sports writer and covered the National Hockey League for over 20 years for several publications and sports services, including NBCSports.com. I was the first woman to ever headman a football conference in Canada (Prairie Football Conference), was PR Director for the Edmonton Trappers Baseball Club, and was a volunteer media liaison with the Hockey Committee during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Over the years, I have worked with and interviewed numerous media and celebrities, such as Stan Fischler (The Hockey Maven), Wayne Gretzky, Jarome Iginla, Mario Lemieux, Marcus Camby, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Kelly Hrudey, The Doobie Brothers, Dante Bichette, to name a few. I have appeared in many local, national, and international media programs, such as The Vicki Gabereau Show, NHL Network, MSG Network, and Sports Channel America, to name a few. I co-host the Virtual Newsmakers with Cynthia K. Seymour. It is a weekly webcast featuring interesting people who are using innovative ways to bridge traditional and digital communications. Some of our guest include thought leaders in digital media communications, such as Erik Qualman, Chris Brogan, Martin Shervington, Dave Carroll (United Breaks Guitars), Tony Dyson (creator of R2D2), and three-time Olympian Steve Mesler.

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