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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogging for the uninitiated . . .

Note that I have not titled this "Blogging for Dummies" - just because someone doesn't have the same information does NOT make them dumb.

It was brought to my attention yesterday that I has a spelling mistake in my most recent blog and had used the word "cum." I quickly checked, hoping I hadn't inadvertently offended anyone, and found I had used the word in its accurate and literal sense, not the locker room version, to refer to "amateur psychologists cum journalists."

For those unaware of the literal meaning, here's the Merriam-Webster definition:

cum conjunction 
: along with being : AND -- used to form hyphenated phrases 
I've also noticed that some of my readers, sometimes the older, less computer-savvy of them, are not always aware that highlighted words, such as these, are a link to another page or site. I realized that when someone posted the URL to a video I had linked to in my post.

So, I have a slight dilemma.

Many of my regular readers are affiliated with the military, but that does not for a moment mean I think them less intelligent for that. It does, however, suggest that their lexicon may be very different than that of myself - a Humanities graduate with a degree in English Lit, Theater and Linguistics and a decidedly theatrical background.

But I have never liked to dumb down my writing, even when a fledgling reporter working for a chief reporter who believed in catering to the lowest common denominator. I believe good writing should be entertaining, readable, informative and educational. I never want to get to the arrogant high-brow level of the U.K.'s "The Guardian," where even I need a dictionary to fully understand some stories, but if you need to look up the definition of one word per blog post, I think that a positive thing.

I'm not sure I could dumb down my writing anyway, without it becoming stilted and no longer my voice.

So I guess if you think I've made a typo, please let me know. As a copy editor by trade, I know how easy it is to make mistakes, especially in an online format, but who knows, we may both learn from the dialogue.


  1. My word! Of all the purblind pettifogging tripe, those milit...Hey wait a second!

  2. I will post this here, because she won't, but one of my smarter friends found a typo and pointed it out to me privately - perhaps I should offer prizes . . .