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Archive for February, 2011

Here’s a valuable lesson in editing and proofreading for my public relations writing students.  Nine product lots of Sudafed 24-hour, extended-release tablets are being recalled because of a typographical error in the directions section on the label.

Over 660,000 Sudafed packages are affected because the directions for use contain a double negative.  The directions repeat the word “not,” so the directions incorrectly read, “do not not divide, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablet.”

So much for proofreading. Someone, or many people, missed this error, costing the company lots of money, time, and effort, plus adversely affecting the company’s image. It proves that even the smallest detail of any writing assignment matters.

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If the current uprisings around the world prove anything, they prove the power of the well-chosen word over the well-aimed bullet.

The recent Egyptian revolution is said to have been born on Facebook. Most agree that social media has enabled the most significant changes in freedom of expression the Arab world has ever seen. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all played a part in bringing down an Egytian regime that had held absolute power for decades.

Even when Egyptian authorities tried to shut down the Internet and mobile phone service, the protests held in January 25 were promoted in advance on Facebook, and protesters showed up in large numbers.

The world is changing, and it is changing rapidly. Every day, there seems to be a new outbreak of protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, and Libya. Even China has recently cracked down on possible protest leaders when word got out that protests may be planned.

Can regime bullets stop protesters’ tweets? No. Not now, and not in the future. The power of the well-chosen word will win.

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