Point of view: The long and short of it

Molly Flatt

Has social media killed copywriting?

In general, I despise the Chicken-licken approach to progress. The insistence that the latest piece of popular technology means curtains for morality, journalism, God, society, TV, music, or whichever pursuit you have a vested interest in preserving in its current form, is an age-old instinct of human nature which never fails to be both boring and inaccurate. A few thousand years ago, Socrates was fretting that the newfangled vogue for writing would destroy our memories, and just look at Derren Brown. Of course, technology alters our behaviour, but human beings are resilient creatures, and we have repeatedly proven that we are capable of combining old and new practices in exciting and profitable ways.

That said, I have to admit that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that copy has taken a dive since blogs, forums and social networks redefined the way brands express themselves online. The imperative to be authentic, accessible and human – and to do it in real time – all too often translates into a woeful mash-up of teen speak, sloppy grammar and Americanised marketing jargon, all heavily laced with a chronic over-use of exclamation marks.