The Merits of Hand Marking in the Modern Era

When I was ten years old, adults in my life made a big deal about public schools no longer teaching cursive. “How are you going to pass your SATs without cursive?!” they’d cry, while I would cry over sheets of dotted lines and swirly words. While they were right about needing it for the SATs, I have since retained only enough cursive to spell my name for legal documents. Like many other millennials, I felt my time was wasted learning an archaic skill instead of something more contemporary and more applicable to day-to-day life. It would be another two years before I learned typing, a skill I employ daily at Ooligan.

People my age have been fed the “old way” with the expectation that we’ll need to write everything by hand, that we won’t have a calculator in our pockets every day (in the form of phone apps), and that we’ll need to memorize every phone number and address we ever encounter. Is it really that surprising that our generation is cynical about any analogue workflows when we’ve seen several outmoded in our lifetimes? Unfortunately, it is that exact disillusionment that causes some genuinely useful pre-Y2K skills to be overlooked. Case in point: hand-marked editing.

Undeniably, digital copyediting has its benefits: more room to comment, capacity to share work instantaneously, automatic spell-check. But you lose things, particularly the readability that comes with line editing in the margins of a printed copy. Jason Fried succinctly described this digital fog in his article “Copyediting: Man vs. Machine”:

For example, to suggest a capitalized “A,” you’d triple-underline the letter by hand. But on a computer you’d actually replace the lowercase “a” with an uppercase “A,” but the remnant “a” would remain. Over the course of many sentences and many changes, the machine-made track changes edits blend in too much with the original text. It becomes hard to quickly spot changes. And it becomes hard to actually read the original to the changes.

This added readability is helpful not only for the author receiving the edited manuscript back, but also for the editor’s chances of catching mistakes in the first place. How often is it that you print out an important term paper thinking it’s totally fine while it’s on the word processor of your choice, only to find you used the wrong version of “there” or typed “form” instead of “from” in a crucial sentence? If you were paying someone to catch those sorts of mistakes, you would not be happy if they missed them for the exact same reason you did.

Finally, there’s the simple fact that certain writers (and, indeed, entire presses) are, and will continue to be, Luddites. Whether they were raised in the age of typewriters and never had time to learn other ways or are rightly skeptical of the privacy afforded to modern word processors, changing their minds on the matter isn’t easy, and attempting to do so can be unprofessional. In those cases, editing by hand is really the only option, even if the idea of the author painstakingly inputting your edits and essentially writing the manuscript twice makes you cringe. Our place as good editors is to be rigid about grammar, not the form in which we deliver our edits.

Social Media Tools & Ooligan

As social media continues to boom through today’s generation, businesses must use these platforms in order to market their own companies and organizations. But how exactly are these companies benefiting from their social media, and how do they know what to post to further engage their followers? The answer is social media tools.

Various apps, or social media tools, are being created in order to help businesses and industry professionals like publishers discover what their consumers and customers are looking for, what they might be talking about, and what they are most interested in. These social media tools collect and gather data through user clicks, views, and in some instances, voice recognition. By centralizing and combining all of these different social media efforts onto one dashboard, such as Twitter or Instagram, businesses are able to tailor their messages and posts to their target audience or network based on the information they are receiving.

With over fifty different social media tools, companies and businesses have a lot of options to find a specific app that best adheres to their needs or product. Apps like Reviewinc allow companies to see over 200 different review sites at once. From there, companies can gauge and organize how many negative versus positive reviews they may be receiving. The Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro is another tool used by professionals and marketers. This particular app focuses on keywords or phrases that connect to the specific company using it. Marketers are able to learn who is talking about their brand and what they might be saying. Although these can all be very useful, Ooligan primarily works with Hootsuite, tracking specific analytics through each social media platform, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Within the Hootsuite application, Ooligan has control over all three of our social media accounts in a single dashboard. This tool allows the press to schedule, manage, and report our social media accounts, as well as analyze results from a simpler application. Through a feature known as “sentiment,” Hootsuite identifies language and provides a graph gauging which posts are sending out negativity or positivity to followers. In this feature, Ooligan is also able to search keywords, phrases, and even hashtags to learn what our community might be talking about in regards to our brand. Additionally, Hootsuite schedules social media posts, making platform control much easier. Ooligan uses social media analytics as well. Twitter displays demographics of current followers, including where they live, their occupation, age, gender, and even their interests. By understanding who is following us, Ooligan is better able to manage what we post and what will reach our audience in the most effective way. Facebook’s analytics provide Ooligan with information on what audiences we are reaching in our posts, and how that compares to competitors. Instagram shows followers and when they’re most active, giving Ooligan information about what days and times are the best to post. Each of these social media tools improves the effectiveness of posts and engages the audience in a much more advanced and useful way.

Reaching out to customers and potential buyers through social media is one of the most effective strategies today. Applications like Hootsuite and Reviewinc are making it easier for professionals to keep track of their following and maintain their brand. Understanding your audience and who you’re marketing to is just the beginning of finding success in your company or publishing house.