In a time where information and content is being mass produced we have many instances where content writers, like myself, take the liberty to use language in a way that maybe we shouldn’t. Using figures of speech, colloquialisms or sayings that express something other than their literal meaning can potentially come across in an offensive way that we weren’t intending.
As a content writer, you have to be conscious of the way you are writing your articles. This includes being careful to not use colloquialisms that may offend or upset people in your writing. Often times these terms and phrases may be culturally acceptable, but not universally acceptable. To clarify, even though a large group of people may be comfortable with a phrase –another group may feel misunderstood or trivialized. That’s not something we want. We don’t want to alienate any of our readers.
For instance, we recently wrote an article on user experience where we used the term “OCD” in relation to the way a designer overly focuses on the design instead of usability. After publishing the article, we realized that using the term in this way really trivialized people who are genuinely living with this disorder. We don’t want to help desensitize people to the suffering of others. Although the intention may be harmless, the effect could be minimizing the condition of someone else. It’s important, as a writer, to be able to identify this potential effect and avoid it when necessary.
If the intention behind the phrase is harmless, then you should spend the time to find another way to get across to the average reader in a different way. While we want to be relatable as writers, we don’t want to be disrespectful.
What precautions do you take when reviewing your writing and social media posts? What do you think the implications are of using colloquialisms in your writing and posts? Let us know your thoughts, comment below!