Clear communication in a crisis at Reddit
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Clear communication in a crisis at Reddit

The social network Reddit is in trouble. Lots of its popular “subreddit” forums went dark as volunteer moderators protested the firing of Victoria Taylor, a popular Reddit staffer. But rather than stonewall, the company’s management is now attempting to tell the truth, clearly and transparently. It’s working. Communication succeeds when it’s matched to the audience. The audience…

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How to start a blog post: Can you intrigue me in 50 words?

I’ve run a little experiment on this blog in the last three months. I’ve attempted to start every post with around 50 words that would draw you in. It’s working. In my view the title and first few sentences of a blog post should: Intrigue the reader. Promise what’s coming, accurately. Incorporate a clever or counterintuitive…

Red Sox President Larry Lucchino and the art of saying nothing
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Red Sox President Larry Lucchino and the art of saying nothing

Is there any point in giving an interview and not saying anything? Politicians and executives do this all the time. It means things are going poorly but there is no plan to fix them. Ask Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino. Despite their massive payroll, the Red Sox are in last place for the third…

Fifty shades of ignorant: why you cannot control social media
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Fifty shades of ignorant: why you cannot control social media

If you haven’t yet figured out that you cannot control social media, where have you been sleeping for the last ten years? Hey, Fifty Shades publicists, I’m talking to you. Here’s the simple syllogism: Social media is vibrant because anyone can say anything. Haters feed on each other. Therefore, when you create a social media event, it…

Trying to rally the troops? Jargon is not the answer.
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Trying to rally the troops? Jargon is not the answer.

If you were a mad scientist working on a formula for overblown, passive, jargon-ridden prose, you’d combine three powerful bullshitogenic ingredients: government, health care, and information technology. Today we’ll hear from someone who did just that, and revealed how a long immersion in bad writing can overwhelm even the most diligent workers. If you’re stuck in a world like this, I’ll…

The bizarre poetry of Infosys’ influencer email

The bizarre poetry of Infosys’ influencer email

Infosys is the second-largest systems integrator in India, the epicenter of outsourcing. One of their analyst relations people recently sent a friend of mine an entertainingly baroque email. Systems integrators are huge companies that have trouble articulating their differentiation. They have various technical strengths and will build what you ask them to build. Differentiating is…

Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”
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Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”

Twitter’s got problems. Its active users grew only 18% year-over-year. Profits are a mirage in the distance. While Twitter’s users are reading tweets, they’re not clicking on them very much. And the CEO just announced he’s leaving. But if you read what they publish, you’d say “Everything is awesome!” Here are some excerpts from the…

To write well and efficiently, choose the right level of editing
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To write well and efficiently, choose the right level of editing

Editing is like going to the dentist — nobody likes it, but you’ll avoid a lot of pain and ugliness if you get the right help at the right time. And you need to pick the right intensity of editing to match what your writing needs; you can’t fix a toothache with just a cleaning. Good…