November 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

“The exact words that you use are far less important than the energy, intensity, and conviction with which you use them.”

—Jules Rose

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Word Pair of the Month: average, median

When applied to numbers, these two words have an important difference. An average is derived by adding a series of numbers and then dividing by the length of that series.

For example, to find the average of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8, we add them together to get 20 and then divide by 5 (the length of the series) to derive an average of 4.

The median, however, refers to the middle, or midpoint, in a series. For example, in the series above, the median is 3.

November Writer’s Forum Question

Social networking seems to have taken over a large chunk of our communication, and it has made the leap from “social” to “business” applications. Does your company use such networks (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) to extend its reach? Share with us how social networking has become a part of your business.

Tammi Block of Dallas praises social networking as a means of job seeking:

I had been Tweeting links to my blog on environmental concerns, and what do you know? I was contacted by a recruiter who read my posts and then checked out the link to my online résumé. I was called for an interview, and they offered me a job, which I took. I love it, and I’d never even considered this company before. It was all thanks to social networking.

And let’s also look at those who do the hiring. HR director Anthony deAngelo of Boston uses social networking to scope out potential employees who have already applied for jobs:

Before I call applicants, I always check out any social network pages I can find for them. People always present their best faces in an interview, but an online blog or MySpace page is more likely to show what they are really like. If a person’s entries are full of obscenities or nasty topics, I tend to avoid that applicant—who needs to work with a hot mess?

Raj Malik of New York City agrees but searches a little differently:

Networks like LinkedIn can provide a safe place for businesses to find workers, and for workers to find jobs. Because it is a professional network, anyone I might find has been vetted by someone I either know or who is linked to someone I know. That helps in getting a referral, and it also makes me think this person is serious about working for me.

And finally, business-products sales representative George Robinson uses social networking to increase business:

I maintain a Facebook page for the company, and we have a large following. I’ve charted a spike in sales every time I promote a new product on the network. It’s great advertising, as long as your followers fit in your target demographic.

A Final Thought

Want to improve your writing skills but can’t afford tuition at a college or tech school? There are plenty of affordable alternatives. Writing classes, both for fiction and composition, are often offered at local libraries or parks departments either inexpensively or for free. Community colleges may also offer no-credit night courses at a reasonable cost. If you are near a larger university, check out their continuing education department for certification or degree classes at a lower cost than regular tuition. And you shouldn’t discount online courses. Prices vary, though, so shop around. Now you have no excuse for not improving your skills. Go to it, and good luck!

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Write for Business Blog

Entries so far for the month of November:

Staff Articles

Constructing Sentences

Using the Right Word

 

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