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Do not mention Hitler or his Copywriter

Tue Jan 10 20:45:20 2017

Before I start I should invoke one of these as yet again I am going to discuss something that irks me.[1] This particular itch is about language, or more specifically about a naming convention. You have all seen it, and I am sure there are one or two of you out there who it also irritates or grates upon.[2]

I should also point out that I am something of a language freak, as in I love words and I love obscure meanings and I can be often pedantic about words.[3]

It is a such a strong passion that my friends have bought two different language t-shirts for me in my life. One of these is based on a saying I used a lot and the other a suspicion they all have held for a long time:

“I am silently correcting your grammar”[4]

“I am only responsible for what I say and not what you understand.”

Back to the point!

So what is the issue, well it is in the title. It is the number of blog posts, infographics and others who use the same format to promote their advice.

It is too much and it's getting on my chest.

They use hyperbole to a high degree of distraction, they promise more than they deliver, and it is to such a degree that the claim isn’t just unjustified it is akin to lying. You have seen the type of title I mean:

‘7 Amazing ways to blog better’

‘6 Fantastic cakes that are good for you’

So ‘amazing’, really are you in some form of religious stupor? No. Are you Amazed? No. Are you even mildly surprised? Well...maybe.

And ‘fantastic’, it’s a mythical cake as found by Perseus and delivered to Odin on Hera’s best crockery.[5]

The worst part about this is when they pad the figure to get a higher number. They have 5 tips but somehow that turns into ‘9 life-saving crochet techniques’. There should be a return to less astonishment in the titles. Really, I want to see ‘7 methods I use to Write Good Blogs’ or ‘6 tasty cakes with balanced ingredients’. I would be more likely to read those, I would at least believe them.

You are biasing my expectations, your desire to be noticed is creating a world that decries such elements as truth in favour of ersatz. In a world filled with much that is good content you are the cheese in a can.

I am instantly sceptical now of the claim, the number and even the thing they are seeking to discuss. There is a practice and a method to this to get high initial clicks on multiple social media sites. It is a balloon filled with empty promises and broken expectations.

Can we stop it now?

[Don't forget that you can join in this conversation by using the comments form or by tweeting at @shadowcat_mdk]


[1] I see your mock surprise and right now I am making a list of those of you that just indulged in it.

[2] I will indulge in the notion that it is just me, but it is unlikely.

[3] I am also sometimes wrong about words but don’t we all have our own little spin on things, that’s my excuse and not an admission for you to use against me.

[4] Should have added the sub-line ‘and occasionally I’m not that silent and I am frothing at the mouth whilst gesticulating wildly about your grammar”.

[5] Yes I am mixing my mythologies, didn’t have any contrary metaphors lying about.