Writing for Business

Jun 28 2012   4:03PM GMT

What’s wrong with this Twitter profile?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Can you identify the main problem in the following Twitter profile?

“Cindy-Loo Who* is an Executive with a passion for Leadership. A Writer, Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Mother, Wife, & seeker of wisdom.”

Oh Random and whimsical Capitalization — there You are again. There are rules as to what should be capitalized and what should not. When you just randomly capitalize words that strike you as important, it makes you look less intelligent than you may wish. The situation’s even worse when you’re capitalizing words that you are using to refer to yourself, because it sounds like you’re trying to make yourself sound especially important. “Less intelligent” in combination with “self-aggrandizing” is probably not the effect you’re aiming for in a Twitter profile.

 Purdue Owl provides a nice, concise explanation of the rules of capitalization.

I was just finishing up another post when I came across the profile I quote above and felt compelled to do my little bit to help stamp out random capitalization. The profile also made me wonder: Why “speaker” and not “seeker”? Why, given everything that IS capitalized, would you not capitalize “passion” and “wisdom”? In this writer’s system, are those qualities relatively unimportant or does the writer follow some odd rule that we’re unaware of? That’s the problem with random capitalization — aside from making a lot of people dismiss you at first glance — it doesn’t express your meaning in the way you intend. That’s why you need to learn the rules and then follow them because all writers — OK, most writers — have agreed at least implicitly that we follow certain rules so that we can express ourselves and be understood as well as possible.

OK, just one more gripe — referring to oneself by name always sounds pompous and, frankly, a little unstable. Cindy-Loo Who*, I’m talking to you. For your own sake, please edit your profile.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the individual, Random Capitalizer though s/he may be. I left everything else pretty much the same in the hopes that Cindy* might recognize the profile and edit accordingly.

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