Gail Marie hosts Web journalist Twitter chat, #wjchat - McKinney

Gail Marie hosts Web journalist Twitter chat, #wjchat

July 16, 2013

Last week, McKinney Content Editor Gail Marie hosted a chat on Twitter called “Language in the digital age.” The hashtag-generated conversation #wjchat brings a large group of online writers to their keyboards each Wednesday night to talk about everything from the ethics of image attribution to grammar usage.

Co-created over three years ago by Robert Hernandez, a USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism professor of professional practice, and organized by volunteers around the country, #wjchat discusses the intersection of technology and journalism. Robert, who attended Gail’s 2013 SXSW panel “Slap my words up: Language in the Digital World,” invited her via Twitter to host last week’s conversation. The organizers said they’d never seen such steady and lively participation.

Below is a sample of tweets, starting with the third question and followed by a collection of answers.

@wjchat: Q3 Does your grammar vary between platforms like Twitter, Facebook, email, blogs, articles? Why? #wjchat

@gmariethatsme: A3 My grammar doesn’t vary between platforms. I generally stick to most of the rules when it works best for the reader. #wjchat

@jaosullivanx: A3: Yes. Different formats beg for different levels of formality and creativity. #wjchat

@jessicaplautz: A3 Grammar, no. Vocab, very much. Varies by audience. #wjchat

@naudsie: A3 Not really. It’s got to make sense, no matter the platform. #wjchat

@gmariethatsme: A3 The tricky party when you’re writing for an “intended target” (as we do in advertising) is that others will read & judge. #wjchat

@webjournalist: A3 I stick damn close to AP Style and grammar regardless of platform…my tone varies. I am informal on Twitter and FB. #wjchat

Another question was, “How do you fix typos? Delete and retweet? New tweet pointing out the typo? Ignore it?” Gail recalls replying in a series of 140-character messages, “Once in a while, a typo is going to happen. We’re human, and showing that a human who makes mistakes is behind your Twitter feed can be a good thing. But if you make mistakes too often, it will hurt the credibility of your personal brand and the brand you write for.”

The last tweet she sent that night was about how she had been tweeting almost nonstop about grammar for nearly two hours and had made no typos. “And then I made a few to break the spell.”