Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Clarifying some social and pre-social media

A few random thoughts about our day with social media beginning with an apology for those of you born after 1988 or too young to remember 1988. Max Headroom was both a character and a television series that dealt with various topics related to media literacy, but (spoiler alert) books were not popular with the general public in Max’s time, which was always 20 minutes into the future.

The Twitter link to the AP Stylebook has 46,970 followers as of Wednesday at 11.47 p.m. The most recent notes from their feed:

Afghan is the term for the people and culture of Afghanistan. Afghani is the Afghan unit of currency.

Capitalize a military rank when it's a title before a name: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Otherwise, lowercase the rank.

Another new Stylebook pronunciation entry: Vuvuzela (voo-voo-ZEHL'-uh), a horn used by WorldCup fans in S. Africa.

The term dog tag is acceptable for a military ID tag.

In soccer, defender is the correct term; do not use defenseman.

In soccer, coaches are called managers on U.K. teams and technical directors on some L. American teams.

Stanch is a verb: They hope to stanch the flow of oil. Staunch is an adjective: The candidate has staunch backers.

Interestingly, the Fake AP Stylebook Twitter site, maintained by the same group that supports The Bureau Chiefs’ blog site, boasts 136,732 followers. Sigh. Some of their most recent posts include:

If an article offends readers, simply claim it was intended as a satire. That way you can blame them for not "getting it."

Free up ad space by combining the front page with word-jumble puzzle, e.g. YRAMO TRESRDEA NI TRTOTNSOPIUI NSGTI.

Throw small projectiles at your copy editor now and then. A jumpy copy editor is an accurate copy editor.

Avoid sentences that sound funny, such as "The clowns and monkeys ate kumquats."

Pro-verbs do what Nintendon't.

Do not ask an interview subject about his mother if you suspect he may be a replicant.

Bloody Mary - Capitalized; a drink made with vodka and tomato juice. Your editor's main source of nutrition.

And to clarify Jerry’s comment about CB radios, here is a comprehensive look at what used to be the latest in communication devices posted on, you guessed it, a CD blog. Feel free to comment.

Image – cc by-nd: Connectme360

Sam Bidleman

Bloomsburg High School

Bloomsburg, Pa.


  1. I remember Max Headroom vividly, as he emerged - dare I say it - when I was in high school. He made quite a stir back then and encouraged us to think about where our society was headed, just as social media is doing today. As new mediums of communication continue to develop, it's a reminder to be open to their possibilities while diligent to weigh the impact, both good at bad, at the same time.

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  3. I am sure it is of no surprise, but I don't consider myself a grammarian. Another thing I am taking away from this adventure here in Phoenix is how I need to step it up. Not only in the use of AP, but in many other areas as well. Thanks Sam for your wisdom, I appreciate your patience and experience you bring to our group.

    Ryan Ludwig
    Spanish Springs HS
    Sparks/Reno Nev.