Monday, September 04, 2006

The Demise of the Written Word is Highly Overstated

I read a lot. I do a lot of research. I read news, fashion, entertainment, scientific, business, technology, pets, home, gardening, photography, political, historical, art and antique magazines. You name it and I've probably read a sample of it at some time.

In all that reading, I can't even begin to relate how many times I've read about the demise of the written word. Yet, the written word or words still hold so much power and meaning. True, the spoken word or words can often do the most damage, but in general , living in such a visual, fast-paced world as we live in today, words still hold meaning. Which is a good thing.

Think about words used in advertising. Toyota's new print ads have the words "All Science. No Fiction." Pretty strong and convincing stuff. Or, HP's new print ad slogan, "It's not expensive to look expensive."

Promotional words you read and hear everyday such as 'the best', 'the newest', 'the safest', and 'the surest' are words that effect your buying decisions whether you realize it or not.

Think of the difference in the words used in negotiations. 'We want, we'll take, we'll give' all have strong meanings and have unimagable results.

How about words of departure. Does 'F... off ' mean something different than 'take care'?

I heard a good phrase in the workplace recently. What is the difference between the statement "I make a lot of mistakes and people will just have to get over it" versus "I make a lot of mistakes but I'm trying to do better. Hopefully, people will be patient with me."?
Stop yourself the next time you are buying electronics or technology based items such as cell phones or flat-screen televisions. Ask yourself if the words standard, excellerated, enhanced, fastest, newest or latest make a difference in the product you actually buy.

We continually have to take notice of the words we speak and write and the words spoken to us and written about us. Words do matter. The right words are just that, the right words. Wrong words, on the other hand, can do damage beyond our control, they can end relationships, get you fired, end a career and even get you sued.

Do you think Toyota means it when they advertise their cars as being based on science and not fiction or fabrication? Sure they do. Can those words hurt them if they are wrong? Sure they can. What about HP's claim that you can print expensive looking materials at inexpensive prices?

Do you think HP charges too much for printer ink? If so, those words may turn you to another printer company.

I would much rather work in an environment where employees know they make mistakes, take responsibilty for those mistakes and then try to better themselves which in turn betters the work environment. Getting over someone else's mistakes is not conducive to the way I want it to be in my work place.


So words still do count. That's good news to me because I like to think of myself as a writer. If words no longer hold any value, my writing no longer holds any value to others.

P.S. All the editors in the world take notice, word counts should be dictated by the fact that words count.

P.S.S. Sometime in the near future, I'll demonstrate how not only words count, but the emphasize you put on word or words count.