Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brown Noise in Written Language

Today’s email brought a loaf of spam with this in it:
[Name withheld] is a world-class developer and provider of leading-edge solutions that help customers optimize the physical infrastructure through simplification, agility, and operational efficiency.
This passage is the informational equivalent of this audio file. If you can read it without feeling sad, sarcastic, vaguely scummy, or bitter about humanity’s perverse unwillingness to combine thought and language in a useful way, then I beg you to read Revising Prose and Rework.


That is all.

1 comment:

Joel Garry said...

Funny how that sounds exactly like every "mission statement" ever written. So the question becomes, does a mission statement have to be interesting, an informative abstract of what, how and for who, or something else?

How broad of an audience does such a statement need to satisfy? I know I immediately get a cynical view when I see certain hot buttons like "agility" or "operational efficiency." To me those are code words for "sloppy programming" and "stupid green MBA's who can't properly quantify organizational knowledge." But why should anyone care what I think? Most people to whom the statement is targeted would have already sopped up the kool-aid that those are positive goals. Those are also the people who ought to be reading Seth Godin (lead reviewer of the Rework link), who always makes me mentally yell at my screen. Why? Because he's right, but presented in a manner that makes me think he is way overgeneralizing who it should apply to, feeding the paradigm-of-the-day idiocy of bad management.

Some things just shouldn't be too creative. Banking, accounting, physical infrastructure, medicine come to mind. Yes, all of those suffer if they become too staid, but they all have some blatant examples of where it goes wrong. A creative, entertaining and thoughtful accounting text might be useful, but then again, if that's what it takes to keep someone awake, maybe accounting is not for them. (That was the only class where I actually fell asleep in college - now I work on accounting software, go figure. But I'm not an accountant).

Now, the purpose of spam is to get you to take some action, whether to hire some developer or click on a bogus linked-in invite to infect your computer and steal your bank account. Does a boring mission statement hurt that? I think not, since the presumed target audience of MIS managers or whomever is likely inured to such statements, and will ignore the brown noise. There has to be something to elicit their action, otherwise it is indeed a fail. But don't you think people search through this stuff when they solicit a request for project?

"[product withheld]enable consolidation of multiple applications on clustered server and storage grids. They provide unbeatable fault tolerance, performance, and scalability.
Join us for a live Webcast, and hear from [name withheld] experts on how these technologies can be used to consolidate your databases to a private cloud. With a private cloud, you can realize the efficiencies of multitenancy, rapid provisioning, and pay-for-use infrastructure."

What do you expect in spam, anyways?

word: allys (yes, google word verification came up with a performance monitoring tool vendor here)