Where Are All the Grammar Nerds?

Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of an English teacher, but I’ve always been a bit of a grammar snob. I’m not above correcting people (“No, Dad. Your meeting went ‘well,’ not ‘good.’”) and I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes judge people if they don’t use the correct form of your/you’re.

I’m certainly not above typos (at my internship this summer, I sent a thank-you email to someone pretty high up in the company who had taken me out for “coffe”), but like most people, I try to write well.

This year, I get to put my grammar obsession to good use as the Editorial Services Director at Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR), my school’s student-run public relations firm.

Basically, this means I’ll be editing and reviewing most of the agency’s work for grammar and style.

Since this is a relatively new position at our agency, I want to have a little fun with it and position my role to be a writing and grammar resource, not simply “that person who edits all our stuff.”

Right now, I’m thinking about starting a blog – maybe something more informal, like a Posterous blog or a Tumblr – that could be updated periodically with interesting articles about grammar and style, particularly how they relate to PR. Or, the site might be less of a blog and more of a resource library, as I kind of doubt people will be super eager to subscribe to/comment on a grammar blog (“Great post! I love apostrophes, too!”).

Do you read any great, grammar- or style-focused blogs? Let me know! I’m looking to expand my reading list so a) I can learn more and b) I can share some great resources with my fellow AHPRers.

Also, if you know of any single blog posts that offer some grammar insight or talk about PR writing (like this post from Peppercom’s RepMan blog), I’d really appreciate the link. This goes for grammar-related Twitter accounts, too.

Once the blog/site gets off the ground, I’ll share the link – thanks for your help!

Trips to Heaven, Lessons in Humility and Dates with Duane Reade

Well, the first week at Rodale is done! So far, it’s been wonderful. I have already begun real public relations work and work with some cool people. Making the transition from student life to working world is difficult to say the least, but I’m getting there.

The week fit nicely into three sections:

1)    Trips to Heaven

Okay, so not real heaven, but it was as close to heaven as you can get: the Rodale office supply closet. On Friday morning, I got to go “shopping” for office supplies to keep at my desk. I may as well have been a kid in a candy store looking at all of those staplers, binders, paper clips, folders and Sharpies in one place.

Here’s a little snapshot of what I picked up on my shopping trip:

With dry erase markers, I can now utilize my white board!

Another cool trip I got to take was to the Museum of Arts and Design, where an exhibit called “Bespoke” is currently on display. The exhibit features some pretty amazing custom-designed bicycles. You couldn’t take pictures, but the detail that went into creating those bikes was obvious. I went with two other PR people from Rodale because the museum was hosting a panel discussion that night about bikes as a form of urban transportation and the editor of Bicycling magazine (a Rodale publication that I’m doing a lot of PR work for) was moderating.

My admission ticket for the Museum of Arts and Design; please note the very official-looking "Landsem, Paige" e-mail printout above the ticket.

2)    Lessons in Humility

The combination of being in a huge new city and starting a (semi) real job forces you to learn a lot of lessons right off the bat.

A lot of these lessons could have been learned the easy way if I had just sucked it up and whipped out a map; I am trying so hard to be one of the locals, who always knows where she is going. But, I’m not a local and I don’t know where I’m going. So, I get lost. I go the wrong way on the subway.

More than once this week, I was forced to stop and ask for directions and be the helpless idiot from out of town who can’t find her MTA subway card buried in her wallet.

Thankfully, I haven’t made any really bad mistakes that have permanently damaged my pride or reputation (although I did write “devise” where I meant to write “device”, which was pretty embarrassing). But, I have learned that it’s important to take a step back and remember that you still have a lot to learn – and plenty of time in which to learn. You don’t have to be a local or a smart PR person right away. You just have to be humble and willing to learn.

3)    Dates with Duane Reade

If you haven’t been to New York City, Duane Reade is the convenience store on every corner. It’s basically Rite-Aid or Walgreens, only it’s called Duane Reade. I can honestly say that I have purchased something at Duane Reade every day so far except for Friday. That may be sad, but it’s the truth.

And aside from Duane Reade, I’ve also had dates with some other local restaurants; it’s been fun exploring the lunch spots around the Rodale office. While I’ll start bringing my lunch to work, I’ve been able to try out a deli right next to the office, a great little Japanese/bento place in the building and a nice Italian restaurant just a few blocks away. All were great – now it’s just a matter of keeping myself away from Five Guys Burgers and Fries down the street.

That’s about it for now. I’ll leave you with this picture of the top of the Chrysler Building at night, which, while taken with a lame cell phone camera picture, is still kind of cool.

The Chrysler Building at night, along with the steady stream of cabs.

Thanks for reading!

Being Social with Social Media

The “social” part of “social media” has been rocking my world lately: I’ve been able to meet TONS of awesome new people through Twitter and the blogosphere.

Every new person I connect with opens my eyes to something exciting and new: I learn about new places, new blogs, new ideas, new opportunities and most importantly, new people.

One of the best examples of connecting with new people came early last week. I was looking for recent college grads to tell me about their job search process. To my happy surprise, I received a lot of response on Twitter and three extremely detailed, thought-out responses via e-mail from young professionals Kaylee Hakwins, Case Ernsting and Kira E. Young. It was refreshing to make a connection via social media that lasted longer than 140 characters. Sometimes I’m so focused on upping my follower count or getting a lot of @replies that I forget how much I can learn from those people if I dug a little deeper.

I think there’s another awesome, if more superficial, side to awesome social media connections. Hopefully I’m not the only one who has a “Twitter crush”: someone whose tweets you love to follow, find humorous or teach you something interesting. Last fall, I was elated when Grammar Girl tweeted me and commented on my blog after I mentioned her book in a post. Not really earth-shattering, but cool at the time.

For the last few days, I’ve wondered what people consider their “best” social media connection(s).  Did a blogger you idolize re-tweet your post? Did your blog or your tweets help you get the job or internship you currently hold? In what other ways have your social media relationships benefited you? As I start concentrating more on building connections and adding value to conversations, I want to hear from (and connect with!) others who might be doing the same thing.

*Brief self-promotion: If you’re looking for some kick-butt job search advice, check out the post I wrote for my journalism class – a post I could not have written without the help of social media connections.

Thought About Your Christmas List?

You know it’s time to get thinking about a Christmas list when you see e-mail messages like these waiting for you:

The first is from my mom’s mom:

Are you working on a Christmas stocking and gift list? You better be………you don’t want to find coal in your stocking do ya? lol,lol,lol

And then there’s this from my dad’s parents:

Grandma and I are open for gift ideas—gift Cards, Cash, or Candy Canes.

Regardless of the fact that my grandma used “LOL” in an e-mail, I think it’s still pretty awesome that: 1) my grandparents care enough to solicit requests, rather than just assume I’d like a knitted sweater with a bird on the front, and 2) that my grandparets solicit these requests via e-mail, and not through snail mail or a phone call.  They are, more or less, hip with the times.

I’ve been thinking about potential Christmas gifts (hey, they asked), and all I’ve thought about is all three seasons of 30 Rock on DVD.  My mom should go for that, because that would mean I’d stop stealing hers.

The other item that has really been on my mind is The Grammar Devotional.

From what I have gathered, it’s a daily “devotional” book, but instead of encouraging messages or scriptures, it gives you daily grammar and writing tips.  My mom told my aunt about the book as a gift idea for me: “Yes, Paige really asked for this,” she said.  (Image from the Boulder Bookstore website.)

While flipping through the pages of the most recent issue of New York magazine, which includes their annual “Gift Guide,” I found this gem:

It’s the New York Times Jigsaw Puzzle.  You can pick any New York Times cover page since 1888 to be made into a jigsaw puzzle (the picture came from the site online where you can purchase the puzzle):

Also in New York, I found an advertisement for a brand-new product that I’m sure will be sweeping the nation soon.  The “Snoodie.”  Behold:

This is somewhat unbelievable to me.  Considering they’re currently confined to a quarter-page ad on page 132 of New York, I don’t think Snoodies have hit the Snuggie’s level of popularity, but I’m still bracing for their impact.

There’s only one month left until Christmas Eve: what’s on your Christmas list this year?  I’d love to hear your ideas.  It might spark some inspiration for me and other gift-buyers.  If you haven’t thought about it, get going.  My grandma might e-mail you if you don’t.  LOL.