The Pitfalls of Copy-and-Paste
I fell victim to my own copy-and-paste transgressions this week. I’m not really surprised that it happened, but rather, that it took so long to happen.
I’m working on a feature story about locally-owned bakeries for the upcoming spring/summer issue of our visitor magazine and have been reaching out primarily through Facebook and website contact forms to set up interviews. Yesterday, I sent out the following:
I’m the Senior Content Writer/Editor for BHV magazine. We are planning on doing a feature story on local bakeries in our upcoming Spring/Summer issue and would like to include name of business. Would you have time to meet with me for a few brief questions about your business? If so, let me know if there is a day and time that would be convenient for you.
I spotted my error two seconds after hitting SEND. Sadly, you can’t unsend something on Messenger. Remember when Harry tried to retract his assertion that men and women can’t be friends in When Harry Met Sally and Sally said “you can’t take it back” because “it’s already out there”? Same concept here. Once words have been typed and sent out into the webisphere, you can’t take them back. They’re already out there.
Armed with the irrefutable knowledge that I couldn’t take them back, I did the next best thing: tried to deflect attention from the fact that they had ever appeared by immediately following up with another message. I told them that I’m a big fan of [actual name of business] and no story about Black Hills bakeries would ever be complete without a mention of [actual name of business]. In other words, I pulled out all the stops and kissed ass like crazy.
I was sincere in what I said. These guys have been in business longer than any other bakery in town. We used to buy donuts and cakes from them when my dad was stationed at Ellsworth AFB, and that was…
Well. A long time ago, rest assured.
Fortunately, if they noticed my gaffe, they were too polite to point it out. They got back to me and we have an interview scheduled for Thursday morning.
I just really need to be very careful before hitting SEND!
Am I Justified?
I’ve been having an internal conflict over text alignment lately. I’m pretty sure this is something only a writer or designer would think about.
I’m either very visually/spatially oriented or simply neurotic. (For the record, I hope it’s the former. Therapy is expensive.) In any case, for years I have been using justified text on my blog. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, justified text is aligned with both left and right margins and white space is added between words in order to make all lines equal. I like it because it looks cleaner and neater, though some people find the extra spacing distracting. This paragraph is justified.
By contrast, left-aligned text—as the name implies—is aligned with the left side of the page, leaving a ragged right edge. The ragged edge adds an element of white space. Left-aligned text is considered more informal and friendlier than justified text, and some people consider it easier to read. This paragraph is left-aligned.
Right-aligned text is another option. In this layout, text is aligned with the right side of the page, leaving a ragged left edge. Unless you’re wrapping text around a photo positioned on the left side of the page, I find no earthly reason to ever use right-aligned text. It makes me want to gouge my eyes out, actually. This paragraph is right-aligned.
You can even center-align text, but unless you’re writing a headline, I don’t see the point. This paragraph is center-aligned.
Arguments can be made for either of the first two options, I suppose. Typically, blogs are left-aligned. Informal and friendlier, right? I’ve always been a very organized, detail-oriented person, which is why I’m drawn to justified text. But I am curious to learn what you, as readers, prefer. Does justified text make you cringe, or is it something you’ve never even paid attention to before? If you guys prefer left-aligned text, I am open to change.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts. While you’re at it, I’d love to know if you have ever sent an email you wish you could take back.