Misteaks, we all make ‘em!

Albert Einstein

Joe’s post titled Keep the wrong out of the write brought up the issue of errors in online media. Typos and grammatical errors are commonplace now, but I don’t think it’s because we’re becoming dumber, I think it’s due to the accelerated world we all live in.

Facebook posts and other social media sites are particularly rife with spelling and grammar errors. Not just the posts from your friends, either. Yes, even businesses are getting it wrong.

I come from the world of publishing, and my experience started there before the “World Wide Web” was something we used every single day, so I’m used to an environment of writers and editors and double (or triple) checking things before they are published. In the olden days “published” meant putting ink on paper with a very large (and very expensive) printing press. Mistakes on printed pieces cost a lot, and we would do anything to avoid them. And when I say “cost a lot” I’m talking about real dollars. Most of the mistakes in online publishing just tarnish your reputation, but don’t hit your wallet quite as hard.

In the agency world, it’s the same thing. Any printed piece goes through multiple rounds of proofing to make sure everything is correct before a press run. The same may not be said of a quick post to Facebook, even from some well-known brands.

As someone who has managed a few accounts for a few organizations, I can’t begin to tell you how upsetting it is to post something on a platform that does not allow for editing (I’m looking at you Twitter and Facebook) and notice an error seconds or minutes or hours later. I like to think it’s a rare occasion when it happens to me, but everyone makes mistakes. Do what you can to mitigate them and move on.

Part of the problem with all these errors may be the fast-paced world of online publishing, where you don’t need to go through multiple steps (and multiple gatekeepers) to publish something. Still, if you have time, ask someone to check your work. Don’t have anyone around? Read it to yourself a few times. Look at every word. Posts on Twitter and Facebook tend to be short, so even a single mistake can stand out. Take your time and proof it, and then proof it again. Typically the difference between publishing something at 8:02 and 8:07 will make no difference, so put some effort towards getting it right.

Obviously our goal is to never make a mistake, so how do we do that? Through teamwork. If I make a mistake, someone else at Z2 should catch it, just like I’ve caught mistakes others have made. We all make mistakes, the trick is to catch them and correct them before they get out into the world.

June 10, 2013 · Posted by in copywriting  

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