Vox pop – May 2010

Does social media pose a threat to copywriters’ livelihoods?

Roger Horberry

By definition no. Bloggers don’t write brochures and so on. In fact the tidal wave of toss that is much social media content only makes a well thought through piece of copy seem all the more appealing.

Ben Afia

I think clients will be wanting to write more stuff, more often and in more places. Because social media mean they can get their message out, faster and cheaper than ever. So this gives copywriters a huge opportunity to write blogs, generate content and tweet for our clients. In fact, I think this is our chance to grab more territory – instead of PR and advertising agencies, companies should be nurturing their copywriters as their researchers and spokespeople. We can be working closely with the business, understanding and responding far more effectively than larger agencies with fleets of account managers. I think we’re going to be busy.

Mike Reed, Reed Words

Good God no. The reverse, surely. The volume of words now being churned out of every conceivable digital portal has made verbal ability even more valuable.

The fact that every day thousands of people spew the most turgid and reprehensible nonsense into the blogosphere, twitterverse and facebookerama means, I’m sure, that clients will be crying out for someone who can cut through all that with clean, incisive, engaging prose. (In fact, I know from experience that they are.)

Of course, not everything out there is dreadful. Lots of ‘non-writers’ have discovered through social media that they’re actually pretty good writers. But that just adds value to the currency of language.

Every elegantly-written blog post or sharply pithy tweet is such a refreshing delight that it’s an ad for the power of words. The background hiss of confused, hectoring and often barely literate twaddle just provides handy contrast.

Expect burgeoning demand for blog-editing, tweet-polishing and MySpace-magicking. If I can squeeze Wikipedia into the social media category, there’s an opportunity there too. I’ve just been asked to quote on writing a corporate entry similar in scale and detail to Apple’s .

There’s gold in thum thar pixels.

Jim Davies, totalcontent

I’ve recently been asked to write tweets, facebook biogs and statuses in various different brand voices. Not to mention cleaning up Wikipedia entries. And just last week a complete stranger got in touch via LinkedIn offering a juicy project. So no, not from where I’m sitting.

Fiona Thompson

On reflection, I don’t think it’s the end of the world just yet. People still need us to write online and offline marketing copy, and who else is going to create the framework that will inspire, provoke and channel all that user-generated content?

Sarah McCartney

Way back in 1986, I was stunned that a client would pay our agency copywriters to write his letters for him. Now, because of email and social media, the world is full of people who are much more confident expressing themselves in words, and that’s a good thing. There is some rubbish copy out there and some rubbish copywriters banging out the same old tripe. They deserve a kick in the pants from some bright bunnies who write a lot – unpaid – then decide they can do better themselves. I imagine that the literate elite were a bit miffed when schools opened their doors to the poor, but we’re all better off in the end. If we still want to earn a living out of it, we’ve just got to be better than most, and work harder to keep our clients in business.

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