Quantify References to Elapsed Time
A writer’s book-jacket bio mentions that she’s been a reporter for fifteen years. An online product review refers to a device having been launched last fall. Your blog relates that you attended a conference the previous month. What’s wrong with each of these descriptions? They all assume the reader is trapped in temporal stasis.
By the time the book comes out, the bio’s reference to the writer’s tenure will be outdated. When someone checks it out from a library or picks it up at a used-book store five years later, it will be even more so. The solution? “Jane Doe has been a reporter since 1996.”
Anyone researching the product online who comes across the review may miss the small, obscure dateline and assume the device came on the market the previous fall, when it may in fact be years old. The solution? “The Wacky Widget, launched in fall 2010, still tops the market in quality.”
Visitors reading your blog’s archives will wonder why you misidentified the time of year when a well-known conference takes place. The solution? “I had an interesting experience at the July 2011 OMG conference.”
None of these errors is serious, but they are all errors, and they are all easily avoided.
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