Salesforce puts customers on the execution block with jargon assault

Salesforce is a great program for small business. Each of its customer sites has an administrator, many of whom are non-coders. That’s why a recent “critical update” featuring “block execution” sounded scary — but incomprehensible — to many. The salesforce email: simultaneously opaque and terrifying A correspondent working in a small financial advice firm forwarded … Continued

With Hurricane Harvey approaching, the Weather Channel wastes copy on weather porn

Hurricane Harvey looks like a devastating storm. But with the media deploying superlatives so frequently, is there any capacity for alarm left for this actual emergency? I analyze the lead hurricane article from The Weather Channel for precision, clarity, and effectiveness. The lesson here: context is crucial when describing a potential disaster. Start with this: … Continued

Air France aims its new airline, Joon, at credulous millennials

Air France announced a new subsidiary targeting millennials, Joon. It apparently believes that millennials will select an airline based on branding and style, unlike everyone else who buys on price, convenience, and a reduced chance of being assaulted. The resulting announcement is as airy as a fresh-baked Parisian croissant. The Joon announcement is breathless My … Continued

Finsbury Park terrorist becomes invisible in passive news headlines

A 48-year old man drove a van into a crowd of people in the Muslim neighborhood of Finsbury Park in London, but he’s mostly missing from the news headlines about the attack. Why? Is it journalists’ passive writing habit, bias in a case where Muslims were victims rather than attackers, or just a need for … Continued

Comparing today’s United Airlines statements (mostly right) to what they said before (really wrong)

Two-and-a-half weeks after dragging a passenger off a flight like a rag doll, United Airlines has released a statement about changes to its procedures and emailed all its frequent flyers. Everything they did wrong in the original statements, they’ve now done right. And the two sets of statements give me a unique opportunity to contrast effective … Continued

Hey Marvel Comics, you can’t take a stand in the passive voice

When Marvel Comics artist Ardian Syaf secretly inserted Indonesian political images into his X-Men comics, Marvel fired him. Its passive statement about the incident isn’t fooling anyone. Ardian Syaf inserted secret messages into comic art In the Muslim-dominated nation of Indonesia, some Islamist groups are now in conflict with the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor of Jakarta, Basuki … Continued