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Laura’s Language: Using Correct Homophones

Earlier today my co-workers and I had a 10-minute conversation on the difference between affect and effect. I was just about to send out a pitch when I noticed the green squiggly line of death so I asked my co-workers who were correct – Word or me. Summer hopped on Google, found the answer and informed me that Word was correct… shocker. She continued to read out loud saying that because there is so much confusion around identifying the difference between “affect” and “effect”, more people have started using “impact” instead.

It’s not uncommon for me to switch out words from one that I know sounds more intelligent to a word that’s easier to spell but it shocked me that this is a fairly common practice. Its pure laziness of course, I mean Google and Thesaurus.com are always at my fingertips. Despite being raised with spellcheck and smartphones we should never dumb ourselves down. Perhaps our generation just doesn’t care. We’ve been able to cheat our way through a lot of things older generations couldn’t.

I remember my mother telling me stories about typing papers for English class in high school on her typewriter. If she messed up one word she would have to retype the entire thing. That sounds like a living hell to me. I would have been so frustrated everyday, especially working in PR.

We truly are blessed with the technology at our hands. We are obliged to use the tools we have to help ourselves. Google it, ask Siri, literally anything. Don’t let yourself be dumbed down when you can easily and quickly find the correct words on your phone, tablet or laptop.

 

Lots of love,

Laura

 


lauras-language-2

Laura’s Language: A Millennial Dyslexic’s Love/Hate Relationship with Abbreviated Spelling

In the early 2000’s, my fellow classmates and I had to write out everything by hand. This included papers, spelling tests and secret notes we passed to each other. In grade school it was rare to have a computer at home and if you did it was usually off limits to anyone but your parents. Within a very short period of time between grade school and middle school, having computers at school and at home became the norm. We were playing games on the computer and learning that we could talk to our friends in a secret language called IM. The shorthand language was easy for me to pick up and hard for me to mess up.

I thought computers were wonderful because spellcheck would “fix” all my grammar and spelling mistakes but papers still came back to me covered in red marks. How could this be? Well because I was choosing the wrong words from my spellcheck options and slipping in IM shorthand without noticing it! It had become so ingrained in my mind that when I saw the shorthand it looked normal to me.

Today I have to use my laptop every day for work. I have to send emails, write out thought leadership outlines, and write blog columns like this. Sometimes I will read something I wrote in a hurry and find abbreviated spelling snuck into it. Could you imagine emailing an editor and it having “are” spelled “r”? It doesn’t get much more embarrassing than that.

I don’t know if other millennials have these issues but I’ve been trying to retrain my brain to type in full words. While it is convenient to use when you only have a few seconds to send a text I greatly encourage you all to join me in bringing back full words. It’s hard enough to learn correct English so why would I want to fill my brain with useless short text that I can’t use anywhere else? I know shorthand writing will always be apart of how I write and I think it’s because it was a big part of my core learning. The good thing is everyone still understands shorthand writing. The bad thing is people will give you crap about it.

 

LOL (lots of love),

Laura


lauras-language

Laura’s Language: Click Fraud

A few months back while reading up on ad and click fraud for our client eZanga, I came across a new form of click-fraud. This type of fraud re-directs users to an infected site if they misspell even one letter in the web address. As a dyslexic who worships the God named “Spellcheck”, I felt personally victimized after reading this. Are they specifically targeting people with learning disorders?

One simple spelling error can send you to a site with malware, pornography and lots of spam ads. Even scarier was realizing that I have already fallen victim to this countless of times. Even if you are thinking “oh well, I’m a good speller” it’s important to learn more about this particular fraud and how to avoid it.

The masked villains who are redirecting user traffic are getting sneakier and smarter. You might think you are clicking on a story about a baby sloth eating mangos, but when the page loads it is not nearly as cute and most likely infected. This, my friends, is also click fraud.

To learn more about web fraud and how to prevent it, read up on it here.

 

Lots of love,

Laura

 

 

 

 


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Laura’s Language: Tools and Tricks

Working in the field of PR you get used to emails, typing out thought leadership, and spreading social media. For a dyslexic PR professional like myself, it can be intimidating to think of all the writing and all the opportunities to screw up. Nothing is more embarrassing than talking to a journalist about your client and misspelling something in an email. I mean these people are born grammar Nazis right? Maybe not, but all the same I’ve had to learn some tips and tricks of which I will share below.

 

  1. REOL (read-EVERYTHING-out-loud). Reading out loud helps you spot grammatical errors and will help you cut down a wordy pitch. Read it to yourself or a friendly colleague because 4 ears are always better than 2.
  2. Use your tools. Spellcheck is there to help you! Write your emails out in a word doc before sending anything out. Those red and green lines will save your butt.
  3. Google. Research what you are talking about. My clients are tech companies with a jargon of their own. I went to art school, so tech talk is neither my first nor my second language. If I’m talking to journalists about my clients they expect me to have an understanding of the field. I Google all the time! Tech jargon, abbreviation meanings and trending topics. Ignorance is not bliss my friend.

 

 

Good luck and lots of love,

Laura