Wednesday Buzz: Social Media’s Yin and Yang

We need it for productivity, but it's a maddening distraction. How can you balance the two poles of social media in your office? Also: the root cause of bad writing.

During Tuesday’s #assnchat, I poked my head in to say hello.

The conversation was about productivity tools, though the first couple of questions had, shall we say, a similar ring. Here’s question one:

And question two:

OK, OK, that was kind of a joke, but there is a bit of truth in it: Social media is an incredibly useful tool, but it comes with an addictive element that can be tough to control at work. How can employers best balance that? The Next Web‘s Ritika Puri has a few thoughts on the matter, both organizationally and regarding policy. There’s a way to make social media an important productivity tool while still letting the personal element shine through.

“The key to your company’s social media policy is employee empowerment,” she writes. “Team members should have the information they need to make decisions independently—and most importantly, to be themselves.”

Bad Writers Know Too Much

When covering a detailed topic, are you losing your readers along the way?

It may be because you know too much about it—and that’s making your writing worse. Such is the novel opinion of author and psychologist Steven Pinker, who argues that bad writing drains “vast sums of money from the economy.” Really.

“The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation of why good people write bad prose,” Pinker writes in The Wall Street Journal. “It simply doesn’t occur to the writer that her readers don’t know what she knows—that they haven’t mastered the argot of her guild, can’t divine the missing steps that seem too obvious to mention, have no way to visualize a scene that to her is as clear as day.”

Whether or not you’re willing to go as far as Pinker did, it’s a good reminder of an ongoing problem in the world of acronyms: a lack of clarity. (ht @DanielPink)

More Links to Read

The new version of SquareSpace, complete with bold design, comes with a perk most CMSes lack—the ability to buy photos from Getty Images for just $10 each.

Also in big-time updates, online curation tool Storify just got a heckuva lot more collaborative.

Some types of work emails are worse than others. Bloomberg Businessweek highlights the worst kinds.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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