Nov 09

As written by today’s college graduates, communications are being weakened by a dependence on passivity

The active voice is an endangered species. College kids and recent grads uniformly write in the passiveWriting
voice. And, I’m at a loss as to explain why.

Is it the rise of text messaging? I don’t think so, because text by nature is short and to the point. Is it a lame attempt by kids to complete eight to 10-page-long term papers? Or, is it a misguided attempt to demonstrate intellect?

I wouldn’t mind if passivity wasn’t so pervasive. And, since poorly structured, verbose sentences reflect poorly on the writer, I think the entire topic needs more discussion. I’d invite thoughts from academics, PR professionals and others (med supply execs need not weigh in). I also plan to interview a few experts and post follow-up blogs next week.

In other words, and in the spirit of today’s blog, "…a healthy discussion from which much can be learned would be my goal."

Colter’s corollary:

Passive voice is acceptable or may even be required in sentences where you need to shine the spotlight on a certain word, such as putting a client name at the start. And an occasional passive sentence can break up a string of staccato declarative sentences. But generally prefer and strive for the active voice.

Nov 02

Safeguarding the brand of you

Far too many young PR professionals have inflicted ‘image’ wounds on themselves, their agencies andWired
their clients by not grasping the subtleties of digital communications. Now comes further proof that the image you save may be your own.

Hundreds of ‘lazy’ publicists were just ousted by Wired. Their transgression: not familiarizing themselves with either the publication or the individual Wired editors. As punishment, the editor listed each and every offender’s e-mail address and said he’d blacklist them moving forward. Sadly, this public humiliation will now follow these individuals as they move from job to job.

Haste makes waste (as does sloppiness). Wired was right for calling out the lazy publicists. It’s a painful, but hopefully productive way for these individuals to learn the importance of safeguarding ‘the brand of you.’

Thanks to Stephanie Chaney for the idea.