As a professed Luddite, I have resisted most forms of new technology. I don’t have a smart phone, I have been on Facebook less than six months and been texting for less than a year now, and my first thought when wondering about something is certainly not “Google it.”
Times change, and life with it! My new job title is web copywriter. I feel as if I have plunged into a foreign world. I don’t mind revealing I was surprised by the intricacies of writing for the web even though I teach adults the basics of grammar and sentence structure for Writing, and the concepts of tone and audience for Reading Comprehension.
As a teacher, I have pondered for some time now if the value of grammar and proper sentence structure has been completely abandoned. It’s no surprise the decline in the number of people reading books and the explosion of texting are seen as two of the culprits in the demise of grammar.
I used to wonder if those of us with a degree in English would have jobs in the future. Technology is changing how we do everything it seems. Having spent the last few months scouring the web and reading what some other people are writing, I have newfound excitement for the profession of writing and respect for the ability to express oneself well.
I confess, however, learning to write for the Internet has been enlightening to say the least. You can, indeed, Google anything!
A few things have shocked me as I attempt to master the Internet.
There are certain elements of writing: I know, I teach them! What I find curious is that so many copywriters have no idea of the fundamentals of writing.
I am really appalled by the number of professional looking websites that have content riddled with errors in sentence structure and syntax.
Do business owners just never read the content of their websites? Smart business owners care about the content because they understand the value of the elements of writing.
I really thought my views on the value of proper sentence structure were skewed by the fact I have spent the last five years teaching college prep classes in writing and reading where many students don’t even know that the pronoun “I” is ALWAYS capitalized or that the word “but” builds a contrast.
Although all the hundreds of students I have taught notoriously confuse the usage of the words “then” and “than,” I had absolutely no idea how prevalent the problem is until spending so much time searching the Internet and reading the content of other copywriters.
Evidently, knowing the difference between “an” & “and” is also not widely understood. Really?!!
I realize writing changes and writing styles differ by medium or audience, but these are not spelling errors or typos. These misusages are far more pervasive than I would have thought possible. Yes, I realize many of my FB friends make these mistakes, but they are not being paid to write.
How can a person who writes in any medium make these types of errors? The more I surf the Internet, the more I value my writing skills and the less I fear my future job prospects.
When companies hire copywriters who are inept at the basics of writing, those companies are assured to lose customers. Like me, many people will not patronize a business whose advertising appears uneducated.
While I don’t expect the owners of businesses to be good writers, I certainly expect their written advertising to be grammatically correct.
As a business owner, you want to make sure that your business is being well-represented by having a solid web presence. The last thing you want to do is hire a novice to run your website or write your web copy.
Leave the content writing to those who are skilled!
Good writers need not fear the future. The world will always need those with the ability to impart information to others in logical, well-structured, grammatically correct sentences. Writing well is still important!