I am lucky in the fact that both my parents are still around. I was also fortunate enough to get to know my grandparents. My last nan passed away when I was in my early 20s. The generation up from them though? I know extremely little. In contrast, my great-granddaughter (everyone in my family has girls) will be able to find out everything about me that she could possibly want to know.
There are thousands of photos of me on Facebook. My opinions on everything I’m qualified to talk about (and that I’m not) are on Twitter. My work history is here on LinkedIn. There’s also my own website.
What will she find?
I hope she finds out the good things. I hope she discovers that I’m a happy, optimistic guy. I have a lovely family, and a wide array of interests. That’s all clear to see on social media.
I know, however, she’ll also find out the bad stuff. She’ll uncover a guy that’s sometimes sarcastic, hot-headed, vain, prone to an off-colour joke. These are all human traits, for sure. But why do I choose to amplify them online? What am I adding to the world when I ‘go negative’?
The writer from 100 years ago
Enough melancholia, I’m here to talk about writing after all. My great-granddaughter will find out that I was a copywriter, running my own business from 2016 to retirement (hopefully). She may want to investigate further and read some of my writing. One of my goals when I write copy, is that she’ll be able understand it. Whenever I write, I try to make it as clear as it can possibly be. No jargon, no buzzwords that date your writing, just a clear, unambiguous message.
I write on some pretty complicated subjects sometimes. I recently wrote some web copy for an optical tech company, for example. Yet with this goal in mind, I produced clear, easy to understand copy that delighted the client. Will it be understandable in 100 years time? I don’t know, but it’s certainly copy that is built to last.
How about you?
When you’re putting your business’ writing together, whether it’s web copy, articles, presentations or anything else, do you sometimes find yourself swimming in technical treacle? Do you use terms which may be relevant to you, but not to everybody else? Do you write about ‘thought leadership solutions’ which sound great today, but will sound tired and hackneyed tomorrow?
You may be losing out on engagement. People don’t like being blinded by science, or feeling like you’re talking over their heads. Could it be time to simplify things? If so, let’s talk!
My great-granddaughter’s generation will love our generation from a historical perspective. Keeping a journal, like Samuel Pepys or Winston Churchill did, used to be exceptional. We’re all diarists now. So use it to promote the positive. Ask yourself the question. If your great-granddaughter was reading your latest Twitter rant, what would they think?