If nothing else fits!

Writing well can influence your success and position you for professional achievement — in spite of (or perhaps because of) everyone embracing emojis and txt speak.  If you are not convinced, consider the results of a Grammarly study of 100 LinkedIn profiles as explained in a Harvard Business Review article:

“Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their profiles achieved higher positions. Fewer grammar errors correlate with more promotions.  Fewer grammar errors associate with frequent job changes.”

If you’re looking to improve your written communication skills please read the following “5 Ways to 5 Ways to Improve Your Business Writing” and start “writing gooder!”

1. Cut the Clutter: Embrace editing and remove extra words; be mindful of filler words like “very” — they add nothing to your writing.

2. Start Sentences with Verbs: Using verbs to being your sentence makes them active and actionable; get to the point and give your readers a clear idea what you want them to do.

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3. Use Bullets: Business is about doing not about reading; it is not a narrative! Condense your writing and write with bullet points; start your bullet points with verbs and you can move mountains with your memos!

4. Organize for Readers Eyes: Break up your writing into smaller sections; use section headings to make your writing clearer. Remember that we read with our eyes; how your writing looks is as important as what your writing says.

5. It’s About You: No, not you — them: the people reading what you’re writing. Borrow a classic marketing approach and use lots of “you” and “yours” in your business writing. This engages your reader and connects them to your communication.

Catfish fools? Since April 1st is widely celebrated as April Fool’s Day I wanted to share a post that, while not a prank, is a bit out of the ordinary: it’s a case of catfishing and catfighting. So, get your rod and reel ready and prepare to pull in a catfish!

On social media it can be hard to tell who is real… and who has reeled you in. As an example I present the following case of suspected catfishing and catfighting. Can you help solve the mystery?

Image via Flickr; Courtesy of Brent Moore

Two people — let’s call them Mark and Nate — met on Twitter and subsequently became Facebook friends.

Nate is a writer known for experimenting with social media as a channel for creative fiction. Keep that in mind for now.

They met thereafter in person. They had some mutual business together and discussed a potential partnership.

Nate also had friend — Molly — who became friendly with Mark through Nate’s Facebook page. Mark and Molly soon became Facebook friends.

Mark and Molly developed a strong friendship, but never physically met. However, Mark wondered — and still wonders — if he was being catfished by Molly (with Nate possibly having been Molly). Details include:

  • Absence of Authentication: Molly allegedly worked overseas as a lawyer for the United Nations. However, here was no record of her being a member of the bar in the state from which she claimed to be. There was also no information about her anywhere in association with the United Nations.
  • A Shallow Digital Footprint: Molly has NO digital footprint beyond her Facebook account — despite presumably working in a position of some prominence. Countless Google searches for her name yield no results. Who has no search results on Google?
  • Missed Meeting Opportunities: Molly claimed to have flown back to her home state in the United States, but never contacted Mark during an extended layover while in the city where he lived. She told him of her travels after she had presumably arrived back home.
  • Mysterious Medical Maladies: Molly would occasionally disappear for stretches of time. Usually when she resurfaced, she had some amazing story about almost dying or having some other medical malady. Again, no proof of any kind, just creative storytelling.
  • Odd Area Code: Molly called Mark from an area code in New Jersey — not a number remotely related to her stated overseas location or her home state. Molly explained this as due to her using a prepaid calling card. They did speak on the phone a few times, and her voice was female, but there is no guarantee she was who she claimed to be.
  • Unable to Video Chat: Molly was never available to Skype; there were always technical limitations or issues. She shared some pictures, but they were clearly dated by at least five years; maybe more.

Consider the concerns above in relation to the points in the video below:

Mark and Molly eventually had a falling out and defriended each other on Facebook. Nate later defriended Mark in solidarity with Molly, but never directly discussed the situation with Mark.

A year or so later Mark and Nate reconciled and reconnected on Facebook. A short time later Mark and Molly posted replies right after each other in one of Nate’s Facebook threads, randomly “bumping into each other” in the process.

Wanting to resolve the past issue, Mark messaged Molly with a conciliatory message. Molly replied positively and they agreed to put the past behind them. Mark and Molly were once again Facebook friends.

Mark and Molly began to message each other, catching up in the process. However, Molly had stories about what she had been up to. They all seemed overly dramatic — or at least lacking in some logic and details. Mark overlooked this in an effort to be optimistic.

Strangely, upon realizing Mark and Molly were again connected on Facebook, Nate became incensed and messaged Mark with a very confrontational direct message. The edited exchange follows:

Nate: “Leave Molly alone. You bugged Molly once before. That betrays my trust, and uses my friends for your aims.”

Mark: “I bugged Molly once before? Please, Nate; Molly is an adult who can make their own decisions. Why do you feel it is your place to intervene if you don’t know or understand the specifics of our previous interactions?”

Nate: “Buzz off, predator.”

Nate then blocked Mark on Facebook; Mark disconnected from Nate on Twitter and LinkedIn. Mark defriended Molly on Facebook as well.

Consider the case above and share your answers the questions below:

  1. Was Mark being catfished by Molly — and was Nate possibly involved?
  2. Should Mark have asked Nate for permission to re-friend Molly?
  3. Was Nate justified in his communication to Mark?

“Won’t you please, won’t you please, Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Today’s Music Monday was inspired by a viral video currently making the rounds — from PBS of all places: “Mister Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind” by Symphony of Science’s John Boswell.

The video is a tribute to the iconic show Mister Roger’s Neighborhood — which was created and hosted by its namesake Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers was always intriguing in his own unique way, but he was never this cool!

The video, which was originally uploaded on Thursday, June 7 to the YouTube account “PBSDigitalStudios,” had already received more than 1.4 million views by the end of Friday, June 8 (and had reached more than 3.4 million by the morning of Monday, June 11) — that’s viral! Someone has even already registered the domainGardenOfYourMind.com!”

How did this video come to be? Here is a bit of background on it (from the video’s page on the PBSDigitalStudios YouTube Channel):

“When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube, we immediately wanted to work together. Turns out that he is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes. Both PBS and the Fred Rogers Company hope you like John’s celebration of Fred Rogers’ message. This is the first in a series of PBS icons remixed.”

Mister Roger’s NeighborhoodFor those who remember watching Mister Rogers as children, this video has special significance. The show initially aired in 1968 and rand for 895 episodes, with the final episodes having been filmed in December 2000 and airing the following August. It reached its peak viewership in 1985, when 8% of households in the United States were watching the show.

For those less familiar with the show — and even for those who are, but who might appreciate a walk down memory lane — here are some fun facts about the show and Fred Rogers (courtesy of Wikipedia):

  • Each episode began with Mister Rogers coming home, singing his theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?“and changing into sneakers and a zippered cardigan sweater.
  • In a typical episode, Mister Rogers might have a conversation with his television audience, interact with live guests, take a field trip to such places as a bakery or a music store, or watch a short film. Typically, each week’s episode explored a major theme, such as going to school for the first time. He even break-danced!
  • Each episode included a trip to Rogers’ “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” featuring the ever-famous trolley with its own theme song, a castle, and the kingdom’s citizens, including King Friday XIII.
  • Mister Rogers often fed his fish — originally named Fennel and Frieda — during episodes.
  • Originally, most episodes ended with a song entitled “Tomorrow”, and Friday episodes looked forward to the week ahead with an adapted version of “It’s Such a Good Feeling.” In later seasons, all episodes ended with “Feeling.” Speaking of the song “It’s Such a Good Feeling,” consider this unique cover of the classic Mister Rogers’ song.

“Would you be mine, Could you be mine…”