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A CRITIQUE OF MODERN TEXT

A lot of ‘text’ in the modern 21st century has become increasingly formal in nature (or ‘corporatized’ if you want to call it) with an emphasis on using the most regulated form of language for even minuscule things. People will argue that the reasoning behind this is to make their pitch/company/memo/whatever look as appealing and structurally sound as possible to their investors/shareholders/clients etc. And maybe from one perspective, this is a correct belief.

But pray tell, does this sentence make any sense? :

“Our Mission is to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission-inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings.”

Now this is not regarding any specific example (It’s just something we saw online) and we’re not pointing any fingers but it is indeed quite similar to stuff you may hear in marketing workshops or hell, even an e-mail from your boss. It’s all surface, in our opinion. Artificial constructs that seem important a relevant but is just meaningless inside. Which, unfortunately is mistaken or sophistication in many circles. Trust us, it’s not. You can accomplish much more professionalism by exhibiting clarity.

“Nope. MORE clarity”

The thing is: people have access to information. LOTS of it. At all time. On their laptops. On their smartphones. There is not a topic that can’t be accessed within a few clicks and if you’re someone who’s trying to pull a fast one over increasingly savvy consumers, you’re going to fail. Hard. Attempts to overtly manipulate information will be spotted out in an instant by an increasingly aware (and cynical) audience. The shadow of excessive consumerism has made people increasingly prone to micromanagement.

“ Don’t convolute simple things”

Contrary to what the folks at Volkswagen will tell you, Honesty is actually the best policy. You can make it formal, truthful and fun to read. It’s not hard to do. Couple of things to keep in mind are: 1) A focus on positive qualities: where you can use technical terms like safety, efficiency, productivity etc. and not use overcomplicate technical jargon like optimum calibration, maximized audit etc. etc. You should not sound like an electronics manual if you’re someone who’s sincere about communicating with investors and clients. 2) Make it fun to read: Ensure that the words flow, display cohesion and display the message with clarity. Be it a vision/mission statement or general information.

There is technically no perfect text. And great content is equal parts meaning and presentation. This is an important aspect to learn in areas like advertising/marketing/content marketing. The effort has to be undertaken to integrate your text with substance and not only just wordplay. There should be an inherent integrity and sincerity to your text that seeks to strike a chord with readers and not just overwhelm them until the line gets blurred.