Last December, I spoke at Ignite Seattle about my biggest language peeve: grammar nazis.
Yes, I dislike self-appointed usage experts even more than I do people who use “lay” for “lie.” (Though people who claim that something is “not a word” are way up there on my list, too.)
The speech speaks for itself — as well it should! — but a few points I didn’t have time to cover:
“Grammar nazi” is not the term I prefer, but I knew it would sell better to the Ignite crowd than “peevers.” I don’t really think you reach grammar nazi status unless you’ve annexed a grammar Sudetenland.
I love well-written prose. I’m happy to edit. I have my own preferences, and can follow a style guide. But I don’t pretend that stylistic decisions are laws, that breaking them is a sign of language decline or stupidity on the part of the author, or that all prose needs to be well-written.
There are many, many people who do excellent ongoing work explaining all of this in greater depth than I could in a brief, pro-editor speech. Recommended: Stan Carey, Motivated Grammar, and the ever-interesting Language Log.
Most people aren’t great writers, and most people are no better at editing or proofreading than they are at writing.
What are the differences between a content strategist and a writer or journalist?
How do you differentiate between a content sitemap and a IA sitemap? More broadly: Now that we’ve covered the differences between a content strategist and a writer, what are the differences between a content strategist and an information architect?
What’s the most effective way to explain the importance of content strategy to a team who doesn’t understand why site architecture would come before design?
Is workflow analysis always a part of content strategy, or is there a way around it?
What’s the ideal interaction or workflow between content strategy and search engine optimization (SEO)?
Knowing that content is king, a call to action is imperative, and the company or website will fail without a good content strategy, when do you throw in the towel?
Many thanks to all four panelists, and to the Watercooler for the venue.