How Microsoft Word’s spellcheck suggestions can botch your writing

Posted on November 16, 2016

In the early days of word processing, typists would’ve needed to either be something of a spelling wizard, or keep a physical dictionary next to their computer or typewriter at all times. No doubt this would have slowed down the speed of their work, as they would be constantly thumbing through the book making sure their (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Portmanteau words: Fantabulous or vomitrocious?

Posted on October 10, 2016

As an editor and an all-round word nerd, I find myself constantly tuned in to developments in the English language and the new words people are coining. The digital age moves so quickly that new words are entering our vocabulary like never before.

What’s more, a particular style of word seems to be burgeoning. It’s a style that takes (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Can you trust robots to provide web content?

Posted on September 9, 2016

Some websites are using automatic algorithms to provide content, but recent events at social networking giant Facebook have questioned the wisdom of this.

Facebook’s experience

Facebook’s Trending feature, which provides popular news items, used to be created by humans. Recently, however, Facebook got rid of its trending staff and decided to entrust the job to artificial intelligent algorithms, or robots.

A Facebook spokesman commenting on their changes to the trending features said:

“A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time.”

The result was far from ideal. Some Facebook users were greeted with a link to a video of a man having sex with a hamburger (whether or not they previously expressed an interest in either hamburgers or sex). Other items featured headlines containing (more…)

Posted by Darren Jamieson

Are we tone-deaf in the text we produce?

Posted on August 11, 2016

Body language experts will often tell you that there’s a lot more to what you say than the words you use. In an often cited 1971 study, Iranian/Armenian psychologist Albert Mehrabian concluded that words themselves only account for 7% of a communicated message, with tone of voice and body language being much weightier. Analysts point out that (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Fuel it or fling it? – Dealing with negative comments

Posted on August 5, 2016

An inevitable consequence of engaging, popular online content is that it’s going to attract criticism as well as praise, and the ways of dealing with this vary from one company to the next.

You could be like Arizona-based Amy’s Baking Company, which became infamous after a 2013 appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’. After repeatedly locking horns with the restaurant’s fiery owners, Ramsay eventually (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Should I zap out-of-date content on my site?

Posted on July 28, 2016

If you’ve been adding content to your website for many years, that’s commendable – it means you’ve consistently shown Google that your site is an evolving project rather than a stagnant page. Is it possible, though, that your many years of activity could actually be to the detriment of your site’s rankings?

After all, with the internet and search engine optimisation always (more…)

Posted by John Murray

What can content developers learn from Wikipedia?

Posted on July 19, 2016

It’s very tempting to think that if we Google something and it presents us with a fact, it must be true, but how much misinformation is there on the internet?

You will have seen many examples of dubious ‘facts’ shared on social media, often claiming something inflammatory about themes like immigration, MPs’ expenses and other subjects that get (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Is this headline any good?

Posted on July 15, 2016

Journalists and all creative writers are well aware of the need to give their articles a grabbing headline that makes people want to read their story in full, but the purpose of the headline has changed somewhat as news has headed online. With social media sites like Facebook often presenting simply a headline and accompanying image on users’ newsfeeds, it could be argued that (more…)

Posted by John Murray
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