This past March, McKinney Content Editor Gail Marie asked those who attended her South by Southwest presentation, Language of Mutilation: Grammar for Ads & Life, “Even if you know the rules and how to break them, are you willing to accept the negative perception some of your readers will have of you if they think they see a typo?” Her solo presentation reviewed the nuts and bolts of grammar and she discussed the misconception of what it means to make a mistake.
Gail has been invited back to Austin to lead a panel of multi-screen writers called Slap My Words Up: Language in the Digital World. Even more exciting than speaking at SXSW? Getting a panel approved if you work at an ad agency. In 2011, SXSW dedicated an entire floor of the Austin Convention Center to sessions about branding/advertising. These days, with the category dissolved, it is more difficult for advertisers to score a gig as a SXSW presenter.
Gail and her fellow panelists found the sweet spot that transcends one profession or industry: writing in the digital age. “Technology is changing the rules of grammar,” says Gail Marie. “Take the apostrophe. You can’t use it in an email or website address, so businesses are dropping that mark from their name — even if their name is possessive (like Waterstone’s). Still, some readers will judge you for supposedly breaking a rule, even when doing so may be necessary for a particular screen (mobile, tablet, laptop, monitor, TV, etc.).” So how do you play that game?
Next March, Gail and her co-presenters (Hasani Gittens, The Daily; Kristina Eastham, Digitaria; Sean Carton, University of Baltimore) will discuss what it means to be “screen writers” in a digital world. For more information on their panel, visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/1324.