Friday, January 26, 2007

Web Writing That I Hate

This is my 100th post. I’m going to celebrate by using my blog to—wait for it—bitch about shit I don’t like. And one thing I don’t like is smug, flashy internet writing. There’s a fine line between fun, clever writing and excruciating, faux-clever cliché, and blogs often sink into the later category while attempting to sound snappy. Here’s my advice: if you’ve read a silly turn of phrase or typographical trick elsewhere, don’t ape it on your blog. Just. don’t. do. it. The best blog writing captivates because it seems genuine and casual, not because it shows how the writer is on the inside of the geek-speak club. Blog clichés make you look like teh lamer.

To be clear, here are three common tricks of blog writing that I find obnoxious. I’m sure I could think of more, but I encountered these examples over just the last day. (I’m also sure that I’ve been guilty of at least one of these, but I’m working on getting better.)
1) The “…wait for it…” phrasing. The self-satisfied gatekeeper voice is not an attractive one.
2) Anyone. who. writes. like. this. drives. me. crazy. I much prefer this or THIS or even *this* to emphasize a point.
3) 13375p34k. Unless you are some greasy, basement-troll hacker, I don’t want to see Leetspeak. On second thought, everyone should give this up. When the establishment is hip to your jive, it’s time to move on. (I realize that the example I gave in the above paragraph is poking fun at Leet, but I just saw it yesterday and it reminded me that I hate such writing.)

1 comment:

Cringing at Columbia said...

I completely agree with you here. I was particularly surprised to find this annoying convention used in -- wait for it -- a syllabus: http://www.box.net/public/23p17mqvmd

Of course this instructor is an avid blogger. I wonder whether students will find this a patronizing attempt at speaking "their" language or what.