November 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
There was a lot of fuss about GDPR (the new data act) and it was brought into being for all the right reasons. Data about you and me was too easily found and shared, partly because our details are available on the internet and partly because companies ‘assumed’ the right to share information. The latter resulted in the suicide of the 92-year-old poppy seller who received 3,000 requests in a year for donations from charities to the point where she felt too overwhelmed and distressed.
The new data act – the biggest change to the control of information for 25 years – is governed by rules to ensure individuals aren’t swamped by calls they haven’t asked for or agreed to.
What’s happened since GDPR was introduced?
The very important thing that hasn’t happened is that our lives haven’t suddenly been relieved of those faceless, nameless, numberless calls from companies talking to us about the car accident that we haven’t been involved in!
I was in an antique shop the other day when a dealer was asking another if he was still getting those calls because she’d just had one. I jumped into the conversation to tell her that I still get them.
I got an email yesterday from ‘Retired Millionaire’ who’s ‘super excited’ to introduce me to a crazy cash-making scheme.
Today somebody emailed me to say I’ve been ‘chosen’ to receive £1,500 – but I need to give them a bank of information before I get it, of course…
And this blog post/rant was provoked because I just received a call from someone telling me that they’ve received reports showing that my computer has been giving off dodgy readings – but they can fix it for me thankfully….
So GDPR hasn’t got the chancers
I’m amazed that contact like those I’ve described still goes on (or even did in the first place) but I suppose they’ll eventually hit upon someone who has been in a car accident and will take part in the conversation. Or they’ll phone someone who’ll believe that their computer efficiency can be improved by the person who has phoned them out of the blue. That must be the case otherwise these calls wouldn’t exist.
But sadly, while GDPR has been no deterrent to the chancers, it’s scared some charities silly and one I work with refuses to contact members who haven’t completed a ‘Yes, contact me’ form properly. Charities face fines of up to 4 per cent of their turnover or €20m (£18m), whichever is larger.
What’s it done for me?
I’m annoyed beyond reason when I get a chancer on the other end of the phone and I still get them – so I believe the GDPR hasn’t done much for me at all.
I’m sure GDPR has made legitimate companies more careful in their communication but it’s ‘other’ companies that are the bugbears of most people’s lives and it’s the ‘other’ companies that simply don’t care.
March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here’s a piece of text with 10 typos. See if you can spot them all.
How to complain with class
There are some people who are never satisfied and who kick off at every opportunity. Then there are those who are as silent as a stealth bomber but when they blow, they really loose their rage.
Always try to be the latter. If you cry wolf to often people won’t listen when theres a real emergency. First stop and count to 10. Do you have ground for complaint? Be very friendly, present the problem and ask what they can do to assist you. You don’t want to alienate your target. Get them to empathize.
Complain in a slow, low voice. If you start at a screach you’ll have nothing to work up to. Never get too irate and don’t lose the sight of the fact that your the victim. Always get the name of the person who is not assisting you and ensure them you will be contacting their boss.
When you’ve noted down your answers, you can check them here
January 25, 2015 § Leave a comment
…when I realised how many people actually thought ‘of’ was the right word to put before ‘screamed’ in that sentence!
We live in a world where there are so many opportunities (texts/Facebook, for example) for people to prove that they didn’t listen much in their English class – where the teacher would have taught them to write ‘have screamed’. Am I sounding a bit old-school? Can’t help it.
Another howler that drivers me bonkers is the mess that’s made with there, their and they’re. I’m not going to insult anyone by explaining what each of them means because I’m sure everyone knows, they just don’t bother to choose the right one and select any old right-sounding ‘there’ in the belief it will ‘do’ Well, it won’t – for me or for many others who are particular about the language. Same muddle goes for too and to – two is stretching…
View original post 140 more words
August 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
For starters the email is in Spanish so, not being a Spanish speaker, it’s of absolutely no use to me whatsoever. I thought I’d better finally unsubscribe rather than just delete because I’m getting an increasing number of these Spanish emails seemingly about different products. (I wouldn’t know, would I, cos I can’t talk the lingo.)
In fact I had to guess the ‘unsubscribe’ link which I did I was taken to a page that suddenly was a tad more helpful ONLY in that it translated for me.
But then…instead of the usual stuff (this may take blah,blah hours. Thank you for your patience, etc) I got this:
EMAIL TO UNSUBSCRIBE:
|TO ENSURE THE PROPER MANAGEMENT OF ARCO RIGHTS (ACCESS, RECTIFICATION, CANCELLATION AND/OR APPOSITION) YOU SHOULD CONTACT THE DATABASE’S OWNER, WHOSE CONTACT DETAILS ARE PROVIDED BELOW.|
Yes I have emailed and I haven’t received word back as yet – but just wanted to share. The cheek of it and really, what’s the point? Why am I on a foreign language marketing list – that wants to make it difficult for me to unsubscribe??
You can’t call this decent marketing – or marketing at all, actually.
April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
Do you have a standard sign-off for emails or do you vary it for each recipient?
I would guess that most of us throw out rules if we’re emailing friends or clients we know well but try to rely on a standard sign-off for anybody who falls into a more formal group. But thinking about it the other day, I realised I couldn’t be happy with mine because I’m always finding reason to fiddle with it.
What I mean by that is that I’ll write the email in a way that Many thanks makes sense as a finishing phrase or Speak soon because both of those seem friendlier than many of the alternatives. I’ll take you through them as I see them:
Very best wishes – I used to like ending with this but it so often sounds too overly sincere (and a bit dramatic, my brother would tell me) to someone I’ve spoken to only once;
Best wishes – that’s alright but a bit stiff however before anyone says anything, yes, I know I use this quite a bit;
Best – manly (I can’t really explain why I’m giving it a gender but I said this was how I saw it);
All the best – old-fashioned and somehow too ‘old’ to be coming from someone of my age;
Kind regards – faultless but I’m not sure it’s ‘me’ if you know what I mean;
Warm regards – twee;
Regards – to the point. I feel fine when I receive a ‘regards’ but signing off with one doesn’t come naturally;
Sincerely – not right for an email, not right for anything anymore – too formal;
Yours – same problem as ‘Sincerely’, just wrong;
Sincerely yours – twice the problem of ‘Sincerely’ and ‘Yours’;
Take care – I like this, both for friends and for clients I know well. It’s not too overly personal but it’s friendly and I can imagine saying it at the end of a meeting which I think is a good test of a good sign-off;
Love – I write that on birthday cards (because I love the person I’m sending them to. The same can’t be said for all email recipients so it’s definitely not right.)
Name only – sometimes I might sign off with just my name, particularly if we’re having an ’email conversation’. Wishes of any kind start to make the messages look clumsy. Otherwise it looks lazy unless, of course, you know the recipient very well;
Initial only – rude;
Cheers – we’re doing business, not buying a round;
Smiley – absolutely no;
See you soon – you probably won’t, will you, so as a generic sign-off that can’t be appropriate;
Thanks for getting in touch – I like that;
Thanks so much for getting in touch – too needy;
Many thanks – a favourite but you’ve got to have something to thank the recipient for otherwise it doesn’t make sense. That’s why this blog started out with me saying I rewrite emails in order to be able to use this sign-off;
Speak soon – I also like this. If you’re emailing a client you know well you probably will speak soon. If you don’t know the client well yet, the sign-off reinforces the fact that you’re opening channels of communication.
So having run through many of the usual suspects I still haven’t found a sign-off I feel totally comfortable with. Something you might say at the end of a meeting (I’ve reconsidered) goes towards deciding your ideal sign-off but it’s not a standalone decider, is it, because nine out of 10 times you haven’t met the person at the receiving end of the email so the relationship is different.
Which means that even after giving the issue some proper thought I haven’t got anywhere with it (I know that for sure because I’ve answered a few emails as I’ve been typing.) Any suggestions will be gratefully received. There will be some (I know their names!) who will say I’m over-thinking the issue. I don’t agree. Every piece of communication goes towards your professional reputation and the way you close an email could be seen as smooth or awkward and that matters very much indeed.
What do you think?
February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
The phrase ‘money for old rope’ stems from the days of public hangings, according to a game I was playing at the weekend. Actually I know that story’s up for debate but I like it so I’m going to believe it.
Legend goes that ghoulish spectators wanted to buy pieces of the rope used for the hanging as a sort of souvenir and it was regarded as a perk of the job for the hangman to sell it.
Another explanation has it that workers in the workhouse were given used and damaged rope to pick apart to salvage the good stuff to be spun into new rope. Possible but not nearly as interesting a story so I’m afraid I’m going to dismiss it in favour of the ‘hanging’ version. Any thoughts?
February 4, 2014 § 1 Comment
Being a wordsmith it’s hard to read anything – and I mean ANYTHING, including a personal text message – without editing/proofing and trying to perfect it. I wonder if accountants add up stuff when they’re not ‘on duty’ – if you know what I mean? Anyway, here are 10 howlers I don’t like to see in print and always edit:
- The word ‘thing’. There’s always a better one – ‘thing’ is lazy and it’s the sort of word a six-year-old would use because they know no better. Adults should. (’10 howlers I don’t want to see in print’ – before you mention the headline, I did it on purpose.)
- Exclamation marks. They’re so over-used and look like excited full-stops. Perhaps it’s the overuse of them I really object to.
- Smiley faces and other emoticons. Just why? They look like something out of a comic.
- Text speak – even in texts it looks ridiculous. It takes hardly any longer to write the message properly and a message written properly carries a million times more weight and style.
- Apostrophes wrongly forced into plurals: 1960’s; fair do’s; loo’s. People seem to go loopy, particularly if a word ends in a vowel or a 0.
- Americanisms in British copy – gettoutahere. I don’t want to receive emails that start ‘Hey Julie’.
- The misuse of ie. and eg. Much of the stuff on this list is a matter of my taste. This one is hard fact, though, because ie. means: that is or in other words and eg. means: for example. They are simply not interchangeable.
- SENTENCES WRITTEN IN CAPS BECAUSE THE WRITER THINKS THE CONTENT IS SO VERY VERY IMPORTANT. Actually I tend not to read huge blocks of capped-up text so the writer’s ploy backfires on me. It looks as if the reader is being shouted at.
- Posh talk – laboured copy that isn’t written in a natural language but says ‘achieve’ when it means ‘get’ and ‘do not’ when it means ‘don’t’, for example. I write by the rule that if we don’t say it that way, we shouldn’t write it that way.
- Over and less. ‘Over’ is a position (over the hill/over the knee). When you’re talking plurals, it’s more than £5/more than five people. ‘Less’ is a quantifier for singular nouns (less time/less speed). Go plural and you need to use fewer than five items.
I could go on but the headline says 10 and it would drive me mad if the writer couldn’t be consistent with the number she’d set herself in the text, so I’m going to have to stop here.