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Shakirah, you're always such a great reality check for me! It took a long time for me to learn that my own dry humor didn't translate into the classroom. I'm grateful I learned that lesson before starting to blog, because online I don't have the benefit of the face-to-face interaction or the gesture. So if my "snarky" side wasn't working when I did have the benefit of body language, goodness only knows how it would have turned off my readers online!

 

There are a few public figures whose personalities loom so large that they can withstand a few potshots. Bill Gates is someone at whom you can almost always reliably "snark" without offending anyone. And in a blogging environment, I have found my readers receptive to a snarky comment when it's either the intro or the conclusion to several sentences of careful, scholarly critique.

 

But it's like lemon zest or a twist of lime or the whipped cream on top of your pie - it can't serve as the substance of your voice.

2 years, 4 months ago on Personality Doesn't Just Mean Snark

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I'd like to nominate critical mass. It's enough already.

2 years, 7 months ago on 7 Business (Buzz)Words That Have Lost Almost All Meaning

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@ShakirahDawud@jennwhinnem

Aw *blushing* thanks Shakirah! And yes, writing so everyone can understand is vital! (It still amuses me how often the copywriter's guild over on LinkedIn reams me out for starting sentences with conjunctions. Trust me, I know better. But it's a blog!)

2 years, 9 months ago on Marketing Copy Turns "Sticks And Stones" On Its Ear

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@AnnaMarie AnnaMarie - what a familiar story! I was so embarrassed after I published my dissertation to discover a typo right on the table of contents page :( Good for you - taking the time. Your editors will be so grateful. And congratulations on the achievement!

2 years, 10 months ago on Editing for Speed, Skill, and Sanity

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This is the BEST POST EVER!!!!!!

2 years, 11 months ago on Wordbite: Counseling Who And Whom

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@ShakirahDawud

I love it! To friend - I'm adding it to my own private dictionary. Very cool! It makes me wonder how we should (re)define "like": 1) I've read and acknowledged your comment; 2) I'm skimming this post and randomly hitting every button I see; 3) this made me laugh, think, cry, sit up and take notice; 4) I've fallen asleep and lost control over my wrist; 5) I haven't seen you in 20 years and want you to validate my self-esteem and the fact that I've recently lost weight ...

And I agree about the namers. Jessika, my stepdaughter, brazenly called me by my full, first initial-middle-and-last previously married name for about 5 years after I married her dad. The day she switched to Baker I knew a sea change had been made.

2 years, 11 months ago on What Editors Really Think Of Creative Usage

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Shakirah - I'm confused. Can you give an example of how the word friend is used like a verb to mean "get off my back, I've done it."

Your own diction in this post is superb. It shows again just how brilliant a writer you really are, and how fortunate your clients are to have you as an editor. You have such a finely tuned ear for the cadence of the language.

And I believe I sympathize with the feeling with you've expressed here. My husband and his daughter are namers. Before I met them, I thought these were mythical beings invented by fanciful writers like Neil Gaiman (if you've never read the Anansi Boys, pick it up on the cheap at a used bookstore- memorable line {my paraphrase} - "Fat Charlie Nancy was only ever fat for about 8 months when he was 14. But the name stuck, because it was given to him by his father. And that's the way it was with his father.")

Not so - these two can name and rename any person, cat, dog, celebrity, object, whatever! that crosses their path. And it's apt, and it's funny, and it sticks. And sometimes their name even endows attributes, changes people's perceptions. It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. They have a linguistic power that no scholar, no editor, no writer of a style guide will ever know. And that's why language is awesome, in the ancient sense of that word.

2 years, 11 months ago on What Editors Really Think Of Creative Usage

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Shakirah, thank you for mentioning the silence. It makes a difference too.

2 years, 12 months ago on Avoid Using Your Powers Of Influence For Evil

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@jennwhinnem

Hi Jenn - Thanks, I guess? The funny thing is, I haven't earned a single penny off of it, and I couldn't care less. I loved every minute of the journey.

3 years, 2 months ago on How To Create A Telesummit To Build Business

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@ShakirahDawud

As someone who works primarily with the government, oh my gosh yes! Those biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Service constantly tell me how necessary some stupid word is. I have to first of all convince them that I am reasonably intelligent. Then I have to demonstrate that I do not understand the word in its context. (That in and of itself is a delicate balance since obviously I do understand--requires much role playing and a quick switching on and off of the Southern accent.) Finally I have to suggest alternatives that are clear and concise.

3 years, 3 months ago on Genuinely Curious Monday: When Would You Prefer Jargon?

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Thank you for reminding me that there is a purpose for jargon, because in reading the headline, my initial reaction was NEVER! But I do work with business professionals from a wide range of industries. And some of my clients tend to be initially skeptical of my ability to help them, for whatever reason--whether that's because I'm a woman, relatively young, encroaching on their personal territory, or an "English teacher," or just because language instruction can be painful for some people.

Writing is personal, even when we do it at work. And lots of us have bad memories of review sessions or feedback that cut to the quick. So I do find in those situations that if I can throw some jargon around, those puffed out chests deflate a bit. My subject knowledge expertise with writing and language speaks for itself. And then I can start being the real compassionate instructor and guide that I want to be.

But as far as putting it in writing, I feel that it's imprecise and unclear. Like you said Adam, it's a shortcut. And we can do better.

3 years, 3 months ago on Genuinely Curious Monday: When Would You Prefer Jargon?

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@ShakirahDawud

Wow! coming from you, I am truly humbled. Thank you Shakirah.

3 years, 3 months ago on Don't Tell Me You're Passionate About Your Work

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@ShakirahDawud

I saw that post Shakirah, and commented on LinkedIn I believe. It's nice to connect along a broader spectrum and see how much you truly have to offer. I'm looking forward to hearing more from and about you.

3 years, 3 months ago on Don't Tell Me You're Passionate About Your Work

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I've always said the surest sign that a person is stupid is when they have to keep assuring others, I'm not stupid, y'know. And I think you just helped me realize why so many online businesses give me the heebie-jeebies.

That recurring, insistent need to declare how much we care about what we do reeks of Hamlet's, "me thinks the lady doth protest too much." Thank you for reminding us of the RIGHT way to let our emotional engagement shine through.

3 years, 3 months ago on Don't Tell Me You're Passionate About Your Work

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