Monday, October 19, 2009

(Not) The Last Post

My favourite quote (out of everything I've read on the web today):

Comma. You never want one of these anywhere near you [. . .] Every time you add a comma to the description of what you do, you suck a little bit more [. . .] Commas are for unfocused hacks.

The quote isn't quite so awesome in context – it's from an article about marketing, *ho-hum* – but what a line, huh? I dare you all to yell, "Commas are for unfocused hacks!" at a professional writer or editor, as soon as possible. Preferably during a job interview.

I've been trying to think about what I should write about that would be fitting, now that my uni course (the one that's been about blogging) is almost over . . .

First, some trivia:
The most expensive word on Google is mesothelioma. If you want to buy a Google Ad that appears on searches for "mesothelioma", it'll cost you US$99.44 per click.
Secondly, Twitter:
It's a good and useful thing. Probably. I blogged about Twitter a while ago, but just yesterday I came across a really neat article about some ways that it might be worth your while. If you're curious about Twitter but still unsure (or if you're on Twitter already, but you have no idea what to do with it), try reading this.

Thirdly . . .
I like words. I like people. Blogging seems like a good compromise.

People often talk about the "dehumanising" effects of technology, but I don't really buy into that. I think the whole memesphere of the web is powered by people communicating with other people: it all feeds off the kick we get from exercising our empathy, from recognising differences and commonalities between ourselves and others. Jokes, stories, ideas. It's all good. (Mostly.)

Anyhow, I think it's something that we should feel good about. Sometimes people are awesome, and sometimes it's too easy to forget that.

(I think I read somewhere that happiness is "seven successful human interactions per day." I like that; it sounds achievable . . .)

Blogging is fun and satisfying in a very unique way, I think. If you keep writing, I'll keep reading, I promise.




  1. what about ellipses ...

    nice twitter article. but after all this i just dont think its for me. maybe not enough words? or pictures. i like pictures :) i agree blogging is a good compromise.

  2. On the subject of commas- I recently heard the BBC book review podcast where they were reviewing Dan Brown's recent book. It was slaughtered- in a very funny way, but basically their main complaint about his writing style guessed it...his character descriptions have all been attacked by twin commas! Jack was a trilingual, purple tie-wearing, Harvard educated symbologist etc.

  3. @marie: Ellipses are for the honest. And for the secretive.
    (Um, hang on - I might need to think more carefully about that description . . .)

    @Susie: Dan Brown using commas is like a two-year-old eating peas with a fork.
    ("yeah but his plots are so suspenseful" - yeah but HE SUCKS)

  4. I think the American poet Richard Hugo said this about semi-colons:

    “No semicolons. Semicolons indicate relationships that only idiots need defined by punctuation. Besides, they are ugly.”

  5. @linear chaos: I'm not a big fan of semicolons either, but "ugly" might be a bit harsh! How can it be ugly, when it makes such a pretty wink? ;)

  6. This quote reminds me of first semester in Editorial English. I was diligently reading my material for lecture, when my friend popped his head over and read the first line:

    "always use hypens sparingly"

    Good advice for a budding publicist or editor. But apparently hilarious to a second year uni student, studying aerospace engineering ("a real degree"). Alas the power of the context...

  7. Ciara - very funny!! Can totally imagine how that line must have gone down with those with 'real degrees'!! Technocrats - are really nice people; deep deep deep down!

    Thoapsl - that was not my opinion! The words of the great Richard Hugo (by the way - this is also from the Editorial English Reader - the old days of semester 1, when I used to read diligently!)

    Just to digress, the Uni bar has reopened! Yeah!! 1888 building cafe and bar. I call it my motown and jazz cafe and bar. I think it has someother official boring name. But they play all my fav motown and jazz, so I, being the matron saint (and budding literary fiction editor), took it upon me to re-christen it!

  8. @Shilpa - ah, the good ol' 1888, the bar formerly known as "the postgrad bar"! Always used to be the best bar on campus. That's great news it's reopened, I'll have to go there the next time I'm at uni - send me an email if you're hanging around campus sometime and looking for an excuse to go get drunk while listening to motown & jazz :)

  9. Some people are very anal about punctuation. Others think it's the words that create substance. Punctuation creates rhythm, which is extremely important in both reading and writing (to some).

    'I aint down wit Twitter.' (Quote me on that one)

    Human beings are amazing creatures; you're right, we need to be reminded on occasion. However, the Internet is a tool which can be used for positive or negative ends...I think no one more than the other. Check out my recent scathing criticisms of Facebook (five posts). Essentially I see and have experienced the good in Facebook, however, when things get under your skin - they itch.

    I think social networking is awesome. I also believe its inherent processes are in their infancy...wait twenty years. If you're around I bet they'll be much more evolved. (I hope human beings will be too!)

    Blogging is tough, but it's cool. I'm down wit it. (Quote me on that)