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10 Ways You Didn’t Really Write That

October 28, 2014

Copy Cat Natalie Mueller Comments Off on 10 Ways You Didn’t Really Write That

1. You copy & pasted the top comments from a Reddit thread.

2. You arbitrarily arranged a series of motivational quotes and/or bible verses over various stock photos in Microsoft Paint…or maybe a pirated copy of Photoshop.

3. Your sensationalist headline is longer than your body copy.

4. You screen cap’d a bunch of tweets.

5. You essentially embedded a video & hit ‘publish’.

6. Your “article” contains more direct quotes from other writers than original content. (Props for attribution though, bro)

7. You uploaded images into an ad-riddled slideshow with nothing but 3-4 word captions.

8. You self-identify as a guru, ninja, maven, jedi etc in your byline or author bio.*

9. You care more about clicks than clarity.

10. You wrote a list.

Closing thoughts:

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lost precious hours of my life to the likes of Buzzfeed and Cracked, the format of the latter infuriating me at every moment. But, I can’t help but posit that the writers of basic listicles are not writers at all. I love .gifs as much as the next person, but please so-called writers, WRITE. Have an opinion or point of view, express it, defend it and do so with a basic knowledge of grammar and the English language. Also, I think we can agree that enough of these ‘content’ sites exist and none more should be created, with the exception of The Onion’s Clickhole.

As for Buzzfeed’s videos, those created by or featuring Keith Habersberger are allowed to remain, all others should face questioning on how they are contributing to society. Also, if it’s just a flash-slideshow version of your listicle, it’s not a video.

*Admittedly, no. 8 is more of a pet peeve than anything else. We also may as well all stop calling ourselves storytellers, that’s been ruined forever.

The ‘Copy Cat’ category of posts aim to encapsulate and/or satirize the voice of popular print or online publications. Think of it as an exercise of voice and occasional envy for those lucky enough to regularly contribute.

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