Rachel answers an age-old grammar question about was and were. Old grammar rules stick in our minds like chewing gum in the hair. The rule you remember is no longer a rule (perhaps it never was) but a choice. Rachel tends to use ‘were’ out of habit, but 'was' is now more than acceptable—it’s the norm.
Business writing has changed into something unrecognisable: content. The ironic book title Write me a web page, Elsie! reflects a 20th century viewpoint and a world that has gone forever.
The manager who says, Write me a web page, Elsie! has no concept of the nature of the internet. As content strategy, Write me a web page is disastrous. It generates ROT, it undermines information architecture, it ignores accessibility, it stomps on customer service.
Jane McConnell comments (March 06, 2008) on a deeply embarrassing feature of corporate communications. Lately she has been hearing about a rise in unwanted internal emails. Anecdotal, but JMC is an astute trend-spotter. She says:
'a few months ago, it was an IT person who told me that the number of "deleted without being read emails" from corporate communications to employees was in the high 80-90%. A figure like this should make people stop and think about what their "all" email policies are.'
Mark Ottaway, Managing Director, Nielsen//NetRatings, New Zealand, hammered this point during his presentation on Internet metrics and trends at the TUANZ Business Internet Conference (21 November 2006).
In fact he said it three times. I wonder why? Could it be something people cannot and will not hear?
'Don't put the Web in a glasshouse. The Web is not special. It's not new: it has been around since 1989. Don't hand web sites over to the IT department and wash your hands of them. Web sites are an important, integral, normal part of business.'
That's what we have been saying about web content for quite some time...
'Don't put web content in a glasshouse.'
Business writing is web writing. Business writing is web writing. Did you hear that? I'd better say it again. Business writing is web writing. Your business depends on your ability to communicate online.