Slap My Words Up: Language in the Digital World
If technology is a pimp, our language is its favorite bitch. The tricks that our words are asked to turn on the streets of social media and online publishing are lauded in our dictionaries and style guides. Googling and unfriending are verbs, no one knows what to do with a semicolon, and maybe it doesn’t matter. Soon we’ll be talking to our computers instead of typing on them. Will we have to speak our punctuation question mark Or will we do without? Regardless of where we’re headed, many readers still think less of you and your brand when they think they see an error. This is especially true in campaign messaging but perhaps less so in off-the-cuff, character-restricted social media bursts. The members of this panel think about this every day and are paid to care because we write for brands who do (most of the time). But some of us are left wondering if this pimp is on to something. Like Anne Trubek said in Wired, maybe its thyme to let luce. The Johns—readers—like what they see.
Reporter on future technology and international innovation for Fast Company.
Sean Carton is the Director of the Center for Digital Communication, Commerce, and Culture at the University of Baltimore. He also teaches in the School of Communication Design and the Merrick School of Business Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
As the founder of one of Baltimore’s first Web development firms in 1995, the founding Dean of the School of Design and Media at Philadelphia University, and the co-author of one of the first books about the Web (The Mosaic Quick Tour series) in 1993, Sean has over 20 years experience designing, developing, planning, and executing interactive media.
Sean has published 8 books about the Internet, technology, business, and video games and writes regular columns for ClickZ.com and Publish.com as well as contributing to magazines such as Wired, Revolution, Stim, and POV. Sean is a sought after public speaker on issues of marketing, technology, and the Internet and has delivered keynote addresses to organizations such as EduWeb, EDUCAUSE, the Florida Telecommunications Industry Association, and the American Marketing Association in the US as well as to organizations in Italy and the UK.
Sean holds a DCD from the University of Baltimore where he focused on digital communication theory and the development of new digital communications strategies. His doctoral project involved re-imagining online search using graphical (rather than text-based) interfaces. He earned an MA in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and a BA in English/Psychology from UMBC. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in social media, digital culture, entrepreneurship, and online marketing at UB, UMBC, Goucher College, and Philadelphia University.
Sean also serves as Chief Creative Officer at idfive, a Baltimore-based digital agency.