ranting on writing

this guy sat next to me at lunch. spurred a good chat about legalese & forms, etc.

not going to be as formal or professional as anything else. “the jello of presentations”

writing is like talking which is like breathing. (if you skip the talking bit, I feel the same way.)

why don’t more admissions/higher ed marketers write like people?


mention of Cluetrain Manifesto. “way we should be thinking right now.” conversation, etc.

1st ever powerpoint “proud to leap forward into the mid-90s”

liebling quote. funny.

noel coward. “never bore the living hell out of it [the public]”

linus pauling “best way to have a good idea is to have lots”

robert altman “playing it safe isn’t even playing”

have you ever looked at lots of admissions publications at once? totally rocking “suck factor” graph.

all sound the same. selling the same thing. you have 15 seconds to say pretty much the same thing as everybody else.

but also not taking risks, over-reliance on focus groups.

exercise: You’ll get the classes you need for not too much money without having to travel too far. (no use of the trite phrases)

the research you’re getting tells you that people want just information, no hype. problem is most research is crap. good at telling what people say, but not what they mean. most people haven’t seen enough good stuff to know what good stuff is.

myspace, youtube. making connections. [Ken had an incredibly good idea just before lunch, which I think we should give a shot.]

“excellence”? Icky. what’s a human way to demonstrate excellence?

some examples.

stuff he wrote for Reed. (very Reed-ish, definitely. hyper-clever. sort of the opposite group from the stories this morning. also: holy crap, is he going to read all of that?!)

great design is more important for capturing; then the writing can involve. interesting point. cute piece. (is it terrible for me to admit that the super-typical UPS viewbook of brick buildings & leafy trees was what propelled me to apply there? oh, and their then very-late application deadline.) dean (? pres?) threw them into the wall.

using 1st person. nobody does it, but it’s the most authentic voice.

“you don’t need to give a roadmap to someone who already knows the way.” (hmmmm.)

OSU text in 1st person; interestly, sort of a fiction-like anonymous narrator. Pretty good stuff, really. I like the idea. he used their tagline stuff well.

line fed through the audience. silly. but useful: what does all this have to do with US?

Portland CC. mentions the hell that is our incredibly broad audience. again, sharp clever writing. we have some sharp clever people, maybe we should use that more.

a story that’s more about your partners in the conversation than it is about you.

what do the humans attending your school hope to find?

“the complete secrets of creativity, free of charge”

emergent properties (koestler?)

points where the lines intersect, where lines are everything you’re working with.

bad writers borrow great writers steal; the hemingway classic

to explain is to destroy – goethe

wc fields to finish.

q: how do you deal with administration that gets scared by wacky ideas? compromising photos? everybody thinks they’re a writer.  if you have an edgy written message, don’t show it to anybody until it’s been designed.  “big dramatic stupidness helps too”

q: writing for OSHU foundation?  very easy because so much cool stuff was going on.

[if you liked this, you’ll like Attack of the Zombie Copy!]