I like making connections. So I’m often on the lookout for them. It’s fun for me to align concepts for an expanded meaning beyond what they may singularly impart. The same is true with writing: symbolism, parallelism, etc. And as a corporate communications professional, connection-making often comes in handy, whether with words, concepts or people.
So it was interesting for me to see an uncommon term, “crestfallen” twice in a single issue of Wired this month. The word appeared in David MacNeal’s story on mobile boombox dance parties, as well as Carl Zimmer’s story on sleuthing out deadly mutant bacteria. Both are positive stories overall, but each includes a mention of someone being crestfallen. I think that’s interesting, and am happy to report not being crestfallen at this discovery.
What do you think? Ever notice an uncommon phrase in rapid succession from multiple sources? Do you believe in synchronicity? What are your thoughts on making connections? Let us hear from you in the comments.
- Too Many Notes (lcef.org)
- The Dismal December.. (hiranazir66.wordpress.com)
- Honest To Job (thesinglecell.wordpress.com)
- Ferry Across the Georgia (girlwithadogandgoodshoes.wordpress.com)
- Wine Tales (curmudgeon-at-large.com)
Connotation, phrasing, inference… these are all subtle colors of writing that affect interpretation. I don’t think enough businesses consider this, but it’s something Apple Inc. demonstrated keen awareness of recently in noting how its computers are no longer the iron fortresses against virus infections they were once portrayed to be.
Just like the occasional operating system or software update, Apple’s wording regarding just how safe its computers inherently are got an update recently. As reported in The Atlantic…
Apple is downgrading its antiviral swagger. On the company’s site, its former, blunt message — “it doesn’t get PC viruses” — has been replaced by a more generic boast: “It’s built to be safe.”
And the slogan of the past — “Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.” — has been replaced by the much gentler “Safety. Built in.”
–Megan Garber (& in PC World by Hamish Barwick).
More Accurate? Or CYA?
I find it very interesting how such a subtle change in phrasing notes a major shift in thinking. And perhaps Apple’s thought is that this subtle tweak will be enough to still accurately convey some benefit – although it kinda feels like a CYA to me.
Still, I find it encouraging that understanding shades of meaning and texture of words matter enough to be put into practice by one of the world’s leading companies. Words matter. Writing matters.
UPDATE: From original ace reporter, Hamish Barwick – turns out it IS a CYA:
What do you think? Is this an obvious CYA on Apple’s part, or a legitimately more accurate way of describing its product? What is another example you can think of? Let us hear from you in the comments!