Communication Made Easy — Speaking, Editing, Writing, Marketing, Networking Answers

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but words themselves are at the basis of all communication. Whether we are communicating for business or personal reasons, our spoken and written words matter. These posts will address issues and answer questions related primarily to business communications, as they affect writing, credibility, marketing, and networking.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's Not a Bomb — It's Just My College Application

It's true that high school guidance counselors are busy folks, and they probably don't have time to teach their students every nuance about what it takes to get into college. However, this incident is a bit over the top, in terms of a student lacking appropriate knowledge. According to the Associated Press:
A poorly packaged college application prompted a call to the bomb squad at Eastern Illinois University. Emergency crews evacuated a campus building Friday, after a postal carrier discovered a disheveled-looking package heading for the college's admissions office. "There was no return address, it was poorly written, poorly addressed to the university, there were misspellings," school spokeswoman Vicki Woodard said Saturday. "There was some tape over it. Just the overall appearance was rather strange." Explosives investigators X-rayed the package and blocked off a nearby street before they discovered the envelope contained only an application to the 12,500-student school.
A school representative indicated that in spite of the scary look of the package, it would likely be processed like any other application.

OK - so here's the question. Did no one ever teach this kid that neatness counts? We all remember Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons, right? And we probably all had someone in our high school graduating class who had that disheveled look about him (or her). But seriously, where were this kid's parents? Where was any adult guidance, whatsoever, to help him get the application completed and mailed with a modicum of professionalism? God bless him for getting it done at all, and I truly do hope he gets in and earns his degree. No one who wants it that badly should be denied the opportunity.

There are so many things we take for granted every day. The ability to read a map, follow a recipe, read AT ALL. Our kids cannot do it all on their own. Just because they can make their own PB&J and get themselves dressed and out the door to school on time does not mean they don't need us anymore. It's a funny story, on its face, this would-be bomb threat and the paranoia that led to an evacuation. But how sad is it that any person, by the time he's 17 or 18 years old, has not had enough coaching and help to know to do it any other way?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

As Great as Harry's Been — It's Time to Move On...

In a post titled, "Harry Potter and the Web Disconnect," Just an Online Minute poses a great question, with regard the the much hallowed and even more anticipated arrival of the final book in the great Harry Potter series:

Could J.K. Rowling and her publisher have really believed that the eagerly awaited final book in the Harry Potter series would remain under wraps until its official release at 12:01 Saturday morning?

My response is this:

Yes, it’s sad that people want to ruin others’ enjoyment - but that behavior is not new and not inextricably linked to the Internet age! It may be easier and more viral today, but 25 years ago, two girls ran through the halls of my high school shouting, “ET lives! ET lives!” solely with the intent of ruining the ending for the masses.

To be outraged by the early release of something at this point is somewhat ludicrous. It is, in my opinion, not dissimilar to wanting a “retraction” from someone who’s uttered a comment not to my liking. What is said is said - there’s no “taking it back.” And what’s published/created is out there, whether according to the writer/publisher’s agenda, or earlier.

Those who want to dress up in capes and wizard hats to celebrate Harry’s sending off will do so

and they will AVOID Web sites where spoilers abound. You don’t like what’s on the TV, you change the channel, right? No one is forcing people to know the ending ahead of time. Where is our own active choice in this??

I think we need to spend less time worrying about protecting ourselves from cretins and more time creating the next dynasty of characters to populate a new story. Harry has no doubt joined Frodo and Dorothy as memorialized icons of “children’s literature,” but he’s done now. Next!

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