She Changed One Word…

Change One WordA former colleague was facing a dilemma. Embedded with an old-style, large organization as a contract editor, she was hoping her next contract would be with a leaner, livelier company. But her phone wasn’t ringing with offers.

Recruiters Should Have Been All Over Her
Before we met, I looked at her LinkedIn profile. A recent report from Bullhorn shows that LinkedIn is now used by over 90% of recruiters in Canada and the US, and many use it as their preferred source. So the message she was communicating on LinkedIn was important.

Her profile was clear, nicely written, and the breadth and depth of her work experience coupled with bilingualism made my “spidey sense” tingle – recruiters should have been all over her. But they weren’t, and I had a strong suspicion why not. Continue reading

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Red Wagon Wheels or Jerking the Sense of Urgency

An old Walt Disney movie called Toby Tyler tells the story of an orphan who ran away to join the circus. His constant companion was a pet chimpanzee (“Mr. Stubbs”) who followed him everywhere. One day the clowns are practicing their act on a fast moving wagon. Mr. Stubbs gets excited and runs out into the ring and between the wagon wheels without looking – the next thing you see is close-up of a wagon wheel – all red!

Red wagon wheelChildren all over the theatre gasped in horror. Then the camera drew back: the wagon wheels were painted red, and had been red all along. Mr. Stubbs was safe!

As writers, news makers and social media people, we need to be careful that what we write does not impart a false sense of urgency; that we do not cheat for effect. What works as a literary device is often not useful or proper in the real world. Hence, when someone reporting on victims being treated in hospital after today’s shooting in Ottawa (Oct 22, 2014), said “Access to the ICU is restricted”, he said something true – because it is always true. Access to a hospital’s ICU is ALWAYS restricted. Newscasters reported that Parliament Hill had been on a state of medium alert today – and then correctly added that the Hill had been in this state for a long time.

It may be tempting to create “Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead” headlines, but we need to beware of cheating for effect, which wears out people’s attention and their adrenals – and then all but the addicted stop paying attention to us at all.

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Things That Go “Boom!”

Cartoon caveman

I’ve posted before on the perils of fast-twitch hell, the thoughtless knee-jerk social media behaviour sparked by the desire to be fast and first. Now it seems we must either educate, or keep an unsleeping eye on our young social media managers, one of whom mistook a picture of the exploding space shuttle Challenger for a cool cloud formation – and posted it Continue reading

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